Tag: Christians in the Middle East

IN IRAQ, IRAN’S INFLUENCE GROWS, CHRISTIANS FACE EXTINCTION; IN SYRIA, KURDS FEEL ABANDONED BY WEST

Is Iran’s Influence in Iraq Growing, or Has it Reached a Plateau?: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2019— The leader of Iraq’s second largest party, Hadi al-Amiri, called on foreign forces to leave Iraq over the weekend.

Why US Forces Must Step in to Save Iraqi Christians from Extinction: Kenneth R. Timmerman, New York Post, Dec. 15, 2018— Pink bollworms are the scourge of cotton farmers.

America’s Loyal Syrian Kurdish Allies Evade Annihilation While US forces in Iraq Face Expulsion: Malcolm Lowe, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 31, 2018— In April 2018, we warned that President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria would be a repetition of President Obama’s worst mistake, the precipitate withdrawal from Iraq that facilitated the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The West Cannot Abandon Kurds: Con Coughlin, Telegraph, Jan. 12, 2019— Throughout the course of the West’s long and bitter campaign to destroy Daesh, the Kurds have proved themselves to be one of the most effective allies.

On Topic Links

Israeli Intelligence: Tehran’s Influence in the Region – a Growing Threat: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2018

Trump’s Rubicon Moment in Iraq: Praising America’s ‘Warriors,’ Ending Wars: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 27, 2018

Trump Makes First Trip to Iraq as President: Rebecca Morin & Wesley Morgan, Politico, Dec. 26, 2018

Life Returning Slowly to Christian Homeland in Iraq: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 1, 2018

 

IS IRAN’S INFLUENCE IN IRAQ GROWING,

OR HAS IT REACHED A PLATEAU?

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 2, 2019

The leader of Iraq’s second largest party, Hadi al-Amiri, called on foreign forces to leave Iraq over the weekend. Slamming US President Donald Trump’s visit, in which Trump did not meet Iraqi officials, he intimated that the US should also draw down its forces. This comes at the same time as Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman, head of Israel’s military intelligence, warned at a conference in Tel Aviv that Iraq is under growing influence of Iran.

Iran’s role in Iraq is multi-layered. It suffered a slight setback in the elections in 2018 as Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shi’ite cleric and Iraqi nationalist, came in first. Amiri, leading a party supported by former and current Shi’ite militias, some of them closely connected to Iran, came in second.

Iran’s influence may have peaked under former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was the most powerful man in Iraq from 2006 to 2014. Maliki not only presided over the period when US troops left but, according to former officials, the US under the Obama administration saw him as a strongman who would help lead Iraq as the US presence diminished. Oddly, even as the US saw him as helping preserve Iraq, he railed against the Americans. In Washington’s calculations at the time this was acceptable because a certain amount of populist anti-Americanism nevertheless meant Iraq would be unified under one leader, rather than sink into instability and allow a place for extremism to grow.

Instead, the opposite happened. Maliki’s authoritarianism alienated the Sunni minority and the Kurdish region. ISIS and its genocidal extremism entered the vacuum created in Sunni areas by Maliki’s thuggish bureaucracy. After ISIS took over a third of Iraq and he was forced out in Baghdad, Maliki claimed that the Obama administration was “behind the creation of ISIS in order to bring down the government.” Nothing could be further from the truth, but blaming America was the easiest way to excuse Baghdad’s problems.

These were the kind of conspiracy theories and anti-American rhetoric that were common among segments of the pro-Iranian leadership angling to run Iraq. Under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who replaced Maliki in 2014, Iraq had to have a kind of Janus face when it came to the US and Iran. The US would help train Iraq’s army and carry out airstrikes, but the rank and file of anti-ISIS fighters would often be more sympathetic to Iran, some even carried photos of Ayatollah Khamenei with them into battle. Khamenei even warned against Iraq allowing the US to return and aid its fight.

To fight ISIS, the Iraqi government also partnered with tens of thousands of Shi’ite militias that cropped up after a 2014 fatwa against ISIS. This was the natural response to the ISIS threat. ISIS was massacring people across Iraq and Iraq’s army was disintegrating. Militias, imbued with religious zeal and often looking to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for inspiration, helped defeat ISIS. Some of these were extremely hostile to the US.

Groups like Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq were even led by men like Qais Khazali, who had been detained by the US. Hezbollah Brigades leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis had been sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2009. He was close to IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Men like Muhandis, Khazali and Amiri were also influential in 2009 and 2015. Amiri’s Badr Organization runs the interior ministry of Iraq and funnels its resources to former Shi’ite militia members. The Shi’ite militias were even rebranded as the “Popular Mobilization Units” and made an official paramilitary force, like the IRGC or Basij in Iran.

This is the Iranification of Iraq and it has gone on slowly for more than a decade. The pro-Iranian factions have always been close to power in Iraq since 2003. One of the necessary blind spots of US policy, and by extension other Western governments, is to pretend that these pro-Iranian individuals, some of them former militants or violent extremists, do not make up the rank and file of individuals close to power in Baghdad. It’s also unsurprising they have such influence. They resisted Saddam Hussein, with many of those like Amiri going to Iran in the 1980s to fight against Saddam alongside the Iranians.

To create an illusion of an Iraqi government that is not entirely an ally of Iran, the US has sought to encourage Baghdad to reach out to Saudi Arabia and sought to push for more Gulf investment in Iraq. In 2017, Iraq and Saudi Arabia began to improve relations after decades in which they had been broken after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The US has sought to balance relations with Baghdad with its outreach to Sunni areas of Iraq and also the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The KRG has been staunchly pro-Western over the years, an island of stability in an Iraq that has suffered terribly.

Yet, the US relationship with the Kurdish region was strained in 2017 when the KRG had an independence referendum. The US worked with Baghdad and supported Baghdad sending tanks into Kirkuk, along with Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, to punish the Kurdish region. Kurdish peshmerga had defended Kirkuk from ISIS from 2014 to 2017. With the war over, Washington thought the KRG could be pushed aside in favor of a Baghdad strategy. This strategy hasn’t reduced Iran’s role or presence. This is not because Iran is necessarily playing a greater role.

In fact, there is evidence that many Iraqis are tired of Iran. In protests in Basra, people have attacked the headquarters of various Iranian-linked militias. They think Iran is partly responsible for economic problems, as Iraq’s resources are plundered by Iranians. As sanctions kick in, Iran has even more reason to plunder Iraq for its economic interests. Iraqis also complain that there is a drug trade from Iran. Some of these claims are exaggerated, but there are serious questions about the degree to which Iran sees part of Iraq as a “near abroad,” a kind of colony that it can dump its products on. Is the relationship equal or does Iraq do the work for Iran?

Now the US once again faces questions about whether it will remain in Iraq. From the point of view of those who are concerned about Iran’s role in the region and its attempt to create a “land corridor” to the sea via Iraq and Syria, the US role is unclear. Do US forces help block Iranian influence? So far they haven’t. Trump said that US forces in Iraq will continue to fight ISIS and keep an eye on Iran. But Iran is also keeping an eye on US forces…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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WHY US FORCES MUST STEP IN TO SAVE

IRAQI CHRISTIANS FROM EXTINCTION

Kenneth R. Timmerman

New York Post, Dec. 15, 2018

When ISIS fighters burst into Father Afran Sony’s monastery in northern Iraq in June 2014 wielding machine guns and knives, he and his brothers rushed to protect their most precious possessions. They weren’t gold, relics or even their own lives, but some of the oldest surviving manuscripts in the Christian world. For nearly two months, the terrorists held the handful of monks prisoner and openly discussed whether or not to kill them because they refused to renounce their faith. But Father Afran was more focused on saving the ancient Christian texts than himself.

At one point, he and a few brothers managed to escape to a nearby village under the cover of darkness, carrying away the most precious of the ancient scrolls under their cloaks. But ISIS caught them at a checkpoint and took them back to the monastery. That’s when they came up with a daring plan. “We built a fake wall in a small windowless closet right under their noses and sealed the books in barrels inside,” he said. “Some of them date from the 4th century. In all, we saved 750 ancient books and scrolls.” ISIS released the monks on July 20, 2014, and stayed another two years in the monastery without ever finding the manuscripts. But every other Christian relic they found, every cross and every grave, they smashed or defaced, including the tomb of Saints Behnam and Sarah, martyrs who lived more than 1,600 years ago.

Most Americans have had enough of our 15-year effort to bring peace, stability and, yes, some modicum of representative government to Iraq. President Trump repeatedly blasted President George W. Bush for going to war in 2003, calling it “the single worst decision ever made.” And yet, the United States does have lasting interests in Iraq beyond eradicating weapons of mass destruction. Prime among them is one that until now we have neglected: ensuring the survival of Iraq’s Christian minority and, more generally, the Christians of the East.

Why should we care? America is fundamentally a Judeo-Christian nation. More than 70 percent of Americans self-identify as Christians, and if that statistic has any meaning, then we must take seriously the passage of St. Paul in I Corinthians 12:26, when he describes the body of Christ. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” There can be no doubt: The Body of Christ in northern Iraq is suffering. It has been suffering for the past 15 years in ways never before imaginable. And until recently, Americans and the US government have done little to help.

These are our people. This is our duty. Through 1,400 years of Muslim domination, these communities have remained faithful, their monasteries and ancient churches largely intact. Until ISIS. Today, 150,000 Christians at most remain in Iraq, a scant 10 percent of the community that once thrived before 2003. And every day brings them closer to extinction. Merved is a 32-year old Christian woman from Bartella, east of Mosul, who was driven out of her home by the ISIS invasion in 2014. She lost four family members to ISIS barbarity and today lives with her four young children in a refugee camp sponsored by the Assyrian Aid Society. Asked if she was ready to return home, she shook her head violently. “I am afraid!”

While ISIS lost its occupying power after a brutal, year-long battle with Iraqi, Kurdish and US-led coalition forces in 2017, members of the terrorist group have gone underground and are forming new cells just outside of Mosul, many of them led by women. “In recent months, we have arrested 40 women just in our sector,” said the national police chief for East Mosul, Gen. Aref al-Zebari. “They told our interrogators that they were protected and aided by the Turkish government,” he added.

In October this year, I returned from a 10-day fact-finding mission to Mosul and the surrounding Christian villages of the Nineveh Plain, which was evangelized by St. Thomas in the 1st century AD. Many of the churches here still conduct Mass in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But ISIS’s presence lingered throughout. “Look at this grave,” local councilman Luis Markos Ayoub told me, as we walked through the cemetery of Saint Georges church in Karamlesh, a Christian village just east of Mosul. “It is fresh — not because the person just died, but because the family came back here to rebury their loved one. ISIS had dug up the dead body and decapitated it, because it was Christian.”

Recently the Archbishop of Canterbury called the “daily threats of murder” Christians face today “the worst situation since the Mongol invasions of the 13th century.” “Many have left,” wrote the Most Reverend Justin Welby in the UK’s Sunday Telegraph. “Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. Many have been killed, enslaved and persecuted or forcibly converted. Even those who remain ask the question, ‘Why stay?’ Christian communities that were the foundation of the universal Church now face the threat of imminent extinction.”

You don’t have to be a Christian to believe it’s in our national interest to ensure the survival of Iraqi Christians. Congress has determined that the three-year ISIS effort to eradicate the Christian and Yazidi populations under their control amounted to “genocide.” Max Primorac, the top USAID official in Iraq, said genocide is a very specific crime that calls for a specific response. “We’ve made 27 grants in three months, probably the fastest ever,” Primorac said. “We didn’t just get the memo, we are reading it.” The “memo” came from Vice President Mike Pence. Just over one year ago, Pence pledged that the Trump administration would change the way the US distributed aid, to ensure it directly reached Christian and Yazidi communities…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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AMERICA’S LOYAL SYRIAN KURDISH ALLIES EVADE

ANNIHILATION WHILE US FORCES IN IRAQ FACE EXPULSION

Malcolm Lowe

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 31, 2018

In April 2018, we warned that President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria would be a repetition of President Obama’s worst mistake, the precipitate withdrawal from Iraq that facilitated the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State (ISIS). We perceived that the immediate consequence of abandoning Syria would be a Turkish-led campaign to annihilate America’s Syrian Kurdish allies, who heroically bore the brunt of defeating the ISIS in Syria and capturing its capital, Raqqa.

The conclusion drawn was that the Syrian Kurds would have no choice but to appeal to Iran for help. For it was only Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman who had protested vehemently against the Turkish-facilitated capture of Afrin, a Kurdish town in northwest Syria, in March by an Islamist militia. In the meantime, Turkey has sent many thousands of Kurds fleeing, who have been replaced with “displaced Syrian Arabs from East Ghouta.” The Islamist militia has subjected Christians to Sharia-style dhimmitude and forced Yazidis to convert to Islam on pain of death. Amnesty International has also reported on rampant offences against property and individuals; it mentions the thousands of refugees who have fled from Afrin.

In these recent December days, the scenario then foreseen has been playing itself out rapidly. On December 14, in a telephone conversation with Turkey’s President Erdogan, President Trump not merely made a final decision to remove US forces from Syria but invited Erdogan to replace them with Turkish forces. The invitation has terrified not just the Syrian Kurds but also other militias in the Syrian Democratic Forces that fight alongside them against ISIS. An example is the Syriac Military Council, a Christian militia that has issued its own appeal to Trump to reconsider: “The outcome of the invasion of Afrin makes visible what will happen to us. Churches will be destroyed. Christians and Yazidis, designated ‘infidels’ by Turkey’s mercenaries, will be killed and massacred … Women of all ethnicities, now free, will be raped, enslaved and veiled.”

Trump overruled the objections of all his advisors, generals and supporters in Congress, assuring them that Erdogan had promised to deal with any remnants of ISIS in the area. Apparently, Trump is the only person among them all who ignored — or maybe does not even understand — that Erdogan had eagerly accepted Trump’s invitation not on account of ISIS but in order to inflict his Afrin operation upon the entire population of America’s loyal allies in Syria. The prospect of such a US withdrawal from Syria — and such a betrayal — has even provoked articles with almost the same title as ours, such as Mark A. Thiessen in the Washington Post and Boston Herald on December 23: “Trump repeating Obama’s mistake in the Middle East.” Search for those words on internet and you will now find others coming to the same conclusion.

Events rolled on with Trump’s unannounced arrival at a US base in Iraq on December 26. Trump declined to meet first in Baghdad with Adil Abdul Mahdi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, but invited Mahdi to join him at the base. Apparently, Trump did not realize that he had humiliated Abdul Mahdi, as if the latter were a lackey at his beck and call. There were furious protests in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (the parliament), both from the Iran-friendly Bina Bloc – with calls for the expulsion of US forces — and from the more independent-minded Islah Bloc. The two blocs command respectively 73 and 126 seats in the 329-seat Council, thus a decisive majority. They had come together to ratify the appointment of Abdul Mahdi in October. The parliamentary leader of Islah, Sabbah al-Saadi, called for an emergency session of the Council “to discuss this blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and to stop these aggressive actions by Trump who should know his limits: the US occupation of Iraq is over.” Oblivious, possibly, that he was far from welcome in Iraq, Trump told US military personnel that — as he was planning to keep them in Iraq – there was no problem in abandoning Syria: “If we see something happening with ISIS [in Syria] that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened. We’ve knocked them silly.”…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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THE WEST CANNOT ABANDON KURDS

Con Coughlin

Telegraph, Jan. 12, 2019

Throughout the course of the West’s long and bitter campaign to destroy Daesh, the Kurds have proved themselves to be one of the most effective allies. In an age when western governments on both sides of the Atlantic are reluctant to commit large numbers of ground troops, the fact that the Kurds have been prepared to fulfil the role of capturing vital territory from Daesh has made a significant contribution to the success of the United States-led coalition’s operation against Daesh’s self-styled Caliphate.

Working in conjunction with American and British special forces, militias such as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been instrumental in helping to liberate more than 99 per cent of the territory that Daesh once controlled in northern Iraq and Syria. The two British SAS soldiers who were reported to have been seriously injured by a Daesh missile strike in Syria recently were taking part in a joint operation with the Kurds, in which a Kurdish fighter was killed. For, while the main military campaign against Daesh is winding down, coalition forces are still carrying out operations against the last remaining pockets of Daesh resistance, which are now mainly confined to remote areas of Syria not controlled by the Al Assad regime.

There is therefore much that still needs to be done if we are to ensure that Daesh is not able to regroup, and the Kurdish groups clearly have a vital role in tackling the last remnants of Daesh’s ‘Caliphate’. Whether the Kurds will be minded to maintain their support for the coalition cause is a moot point following US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement over the Christmas break that he intends to withdraw the 2,000 American troops based in Syria. Trump has reached the conclusion that Syria is “lost” so far as Washington is concerned, and that Russia and Iran have emerged as the dominant foreign powers in post-conflict Syria. This is certainly true — neither America nor Britain are involved in the negotiations over Syria’s future.

But the prospect of American forces being withdrawn before the fighting is over, and before the negotiations over Syria’s future are concluded, has been received with dismay by the Kurds, who fear that they are about to be abandoned to their fate by their erstwhile Western allies. It would not be the first time the Kurds have found themselves in such a predicament. Kurdish hopes of creating an independent homeland, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, were thwarted after they failed to secure effective western support.

Now many Kurds fear that history is about to repeat itself as, deprived of the protection that the presence of American troops in the region affords, they will find themselves at the mercy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is fiercely opposed to any notion of Kurdish independence. Erdogan certainly pulled no punches when he addressed the issue at a recent session of the Turkish parliament, where he warned that he would “not make concessions” to the Kurds, and that preparations for an offensive against Kurdish groups based in northern Syria were nearly complete.

The Turkish leader was responding to remarks made by John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser, who was in Ankara to discuss the arrangements for the US withdrawal, and wants assurances that the Kurds will not be subjected to Turkish aggression. This is a big ask for Ankara, which regards the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the group that has overseen the operations conducted by Kurdish opposition fighters, as an offshoot of the PKK, the Syrian-based Kurdish group that has carried out numerous attacks against Turkey…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Israeli Intelligence: Tehran’s Influence in the Region – a Growing Threat: Jerusalem Post, Dec. 31, 2018—Iran could use its growing clout in Iraq to turn the Arab country into a springboard for attacks against Israel, the top Israeli intelligence official said on Monday.

Trump’s Rubicon Moment in Iraq: Praising America’s ‘Warriors,’ Ending Wars: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 27, 2018—“We like to win; we are going to win,” US President Donald Trump told the troops at Al-Asad airbase in central Iraq.

Trump Makes First Trip to Iraq as President: Rebecca Morin & Wesley Morgan, Politico, Dec. 26, 2018—President Donald Trump visited U.S. troops in Iraq for the first time during his presidency, the White House said Wednesday, after he came under criticism for not going earlier and during a tumultuous period for his national security team.

Life Returning Slowly to Christian Homeland in Iraq: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 1, 2018— Christians are gradually returning to their historic homeland in northern Iraq, after three years of ISIS occupation.

 

ISLAMIST SUPPORTERS & APOLOGISTS WHITEWASH HISTORY OF OPPRESSION AND VIOLENCE

‘Moderate’ Palestinian Factions Praise Rabbi’s Murder as an ‘Operation’: Steven Emerson, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018— Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) framed Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed a civilian father of six as a successful “operation,” Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Why There's Muslim Violence, But Not Christian Violence, in the Middle East: Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine, Dec. 27, 2017 — Because Israel is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the latter have always been presented as frustrated "underdogs" doing whatever they can to achieve "justice."

Canada: Trudeau's Support for Islamists a Warning to America: Thomas Quiggin, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2018— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has an nine-year long record of supporting the Islamist cause while refusing to engage with reformist Muslims.

The Muslim World Must Confront the Underlying Problems in Islamic Theology: Ahmed Shah, National Post, Oct. 31, 2017— In April of this year, Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University — a university in Pakistan, the country of my birth — was accused of blasphemy by a mob of students, dragged out of his dorm room, stripped naked, beaten, and shot dead.

 

On Topic Links

 

After Killing, Army Unlikely to Heed Calls for Revenge Against Palestinians: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2018

Sharia for New Year's: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 7, 2018

Canada: Obsessed with "Islamophobia": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 21, 2017

From “Lone Wolf” to “Known Wolf”: The Role of “Cultural Fuel” and “Personal Triggers”: Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, January 7, 2018

 

 

 

‘MODERATE’ PALESTINIAN FACTIONS PRAISE

RABBI’S MURDER AS AN ‘OPERATION’

Steven Emerson

Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018

 

Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) framed Tuesday’s terrorist attack that killed a civilian father of six as a successful “operation,” Palestinian Media Watch reports. Late on Tuesday, while driving near Nablus, Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot in the neck; the gunfire came from a passing vehicle. Shevach was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. A manhunt is underway for the perpetrator(s).

 

Fatah glorified the attack as a professional assassination from a “skilled and experienced” Palestinian. “The Nablus operation in numbers: The full duration of the operation: 30 seconds. The distance between the cars: 20 meters. The number of bullets that were fired: 22. The one who carried out the operation was skilled and experienced, and escaped the site. The result: a killed settler,” read a post on Fatah’s official Facebook account.

 

The official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, also ran an article referring to the attack as a “shooting operation,” making it sound like military activity, instead of what the incident really was — the murder of an Israeli civilian. Both Fatah and the PA called the victim a “settler.” Palestinian factions of all stripes consistently refer to Israelis as settlers regardless of if they live in pre-1967 Israel or the territories. This is a subtle, yet effective, way to legitimize and encourage attacks targeting Israelis wherever they reside. The PA even refers to murdered tourists visiting Israel as “settlers,” including US citizen Taylor Force, who was killed in Tel Aviv last year.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn Shevach’s murder. So far, there has been silence from Abbas. America’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also chimed in, highlighting the PA’s financial incentive system that continues to encourage terrorism. “An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace. Praying for the bereaved Shevach family,” Ambassador Friedman tweeted.

 

Palestinian terrorists and their families receive far higher government payments than welfare recipients. Payments to released prisoners and jailed Palestinians are based on the length of a prison sentence, and their action’s severity. The more brutal the attack or murder, the more money that a Palestinian prisoner gets.

 

According to statistics released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, Palestinians conducted 54 terrorist attacks in 2017. Another 400 attacks were foiled. The vast majority of terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent years were perpetrated by individuals, not organized groups. According to the Israeli government, this phenomenon is largely motivated by the “PA’s strategy of ‘popular resistance’ (i.e., popular terrorism) adopted by the PA and Fatah at the Sixth Fatah conference in August 2009.”

 

If the assailants responsible for Rabbi Shevach’s death are brought to justice, their families should expect a hefty reward. The PA’s glorification of terrorism and perverse financial incentives system will only encourage more attacks.  

 

                                               

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WHY THERE'S MUSLIM VIOLENCE, BUT NOT

CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE, IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine, Dec. 27, 2017

           

Because Israel is stronger than its Muslim neighbors, the latter have always been presented as frustrated "underdogs" doing whatever they can to achieve "justice." No matter how many rockets were shot into Tel Aviv by Hamas and Hezbollah, and no matter how anti-Israeli bloodlust was articulated in distinctly jihadi terms, that was always presented as ironclad proof that Palestinians under Israel are so oppressed that Muslims have no choice but to resort to terrorism.

 

Yet, as with all false narratives, the survival of this one relied on concealing the bigger, more complete picture, as captured by the following question: If Muslims get a free pass when their violence is directed against those stronger than them, how does one rationalize away their violence when it is directed against those weaker than them—for example, millions of indigenous Christians living in the Muslim world? According to reliable statistics published annually, some 40 of the 50 worst nations in which to be Christian are Muslim majority. Of the absolute worst 21 nations—18 of which are Muslim—"100 percent of Christians experience persecution."

 

The rationalizations used to minimize Muslim violence against Israel simply cannot work here, for now Muslims are the majority—and they are the ones violent and oppressive to their minorities, in ways that make Israeli treatment of Palestinians seem enviable. In other words, Christian persecution is perhaps the most obvious example of a phenomenon the mainstream media wants to ignore out of existence—Islamic supremacism, the true source of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

Vastly outnumbered and politically marginalized Christians in the Islamic world simply wish to worship in peace, and yet they are still hounded and attacked; their churches are burned and destroyed; their women and children are kidnapped, raped, and enslaved. These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language; there is generally no political or property dispute on which the violence can be blamed. The only problem is that they are Christian—they are non-Muslims—the same category Israelis fall under.

 

From here one also understands why what has been described by some authorities as a "genocide" of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Egypt—Muslims who could care less about Israel and Palestinians—is one of the most dramatic but also least known stories of our times. The media simply cannot portray Muslim persecution of Christians—which in essence and form amounts to unprovoked pogroms—as a "land dispute" or a product of "grievance" (if anything, it is the ostracized and persecuted indigenous Christian minorities who should have grievances). And because the media cannot articulate such Islamic attacks on Christians through the "grievance" paradigm that works so well in explaining the Arab-Israeli conflict, their main recourse is not to report on them at all.

 

Such is the way for all apologists of Islam: to ignore or whitewash Muslim aggression—and then, in that vacuum, distort and present non-Muslim responses as the origins of the conflict. This is especially prevalent in the portrayal of history. Thus, Georgetown University's John Esposito claims that "Five centuries of peaceful coexistence [between Islam and Europe] elapsed before political events and an imperial-papal power play led to [a] centuries-long series of so-called holy wars [the Crusades] that pitted Europe against Islam and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and distrust." In reality, these "five centuries of peaceful coexistence" saw Muslims terrorize and conquer more than three-fourths of Christendom; but this inconvenient fact is seldom mentioned, for knowledge of it ruins the "Muslim-grievance" narrative, just as knowledge of modern day Muslim persecution of Christians ruins it. Either way, it is refreshing to see that the sun is breaking through the darkness of deceit that has for too long clouded Middle Eastern realities, including by presenting victims as aggressors and aggressors as victims.        

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CANADA: TRUDEAU'S SUPPORT FOR ISLAMISTS A WARNING TO AMERICA

Thomas Quiggin

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2018

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has a nine-year long record of supporting the Islamist cause while refusing to engage with reformist Muslims. With respect to ISIS fighters returning to Canada, Trudeau has argued that they will be a "powerful voice for deradicalization" and that those who oppose their return are "Islamophobic." Furthermore, the Government of Canada is not adding the names of returning ISIS fighters to the UN committee responsible for the listing of international jihadists.

 

Many Canadians (and others) are starting to believe that Prime Minister Trudeau's position on reintegrating and deradicalizing ISIS fighters is unreasonable, if not delusional. Canada's "Centre for Community Engagement and Deradicalization" has no leader and no deradicalization centre. Nor does it appear to have plans for a program which could operate inside or outside of government. It is also not clear that the law of Canada could force a returning ISIS fighter to attend such a program, even if it did exist. In France, a similar government sponsored program was a failure.

 

Canada also has an unclear position on the arrest of returning ISIS fighters, with few facing any consequences to date. The number of ISIS fighters in Canada is unclear; estimates back in 2015 suggested that about 60 had returned. The Government of Canada has tried to claim that his number has not changed since 2015, despite the near total collapse of ISIS over the last several months.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau's earlier comments on politicians needing a position of "responsible neutrality" on the issues of wife beating and female genital mutilation render his current positions on Islamist groups such as ISIS even more troublesome. Perhaps most disturbing were Trudeau's comments to a gathering of Islamist front groups: he told them that he shared their beliefs, their set of values and their shared vision. Adding to this concern is his 2014 interview, as a Member of Parliament, to the Montreal-based newspaper Sada al-Mashrek. This paper is known to be Khomeneist in nature and supports Iran (as well as Hezbollah). In this interview, Trudeau told the paper that he would have a special immigration program that was more open to "Muslims and Arabs."

 

The degree to which Islamist extremism has spread in Canada can be demonstrated by the number of fighters who have travelled to ISIS. According to the Soufan Center, 180 Canadians went overseas to fight for "terrorist groups" (ISIS) in Iraq & Syria while only 129 Americans did the same. Given that the US population is about ten times that of Canada, the American number should have been closer to 1800 rather that the 129 reported.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau's position on Islamists should be of concern to both Canadians and Americans. While the history of Canada and American relations is largely positive, Islamist attacks against America have been attempted from Canada. Among these attempted attacks have been Ahmed Ressam in 1999, Chiheb Esseghaier in 2013 and Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, convicted of an attempted attack in New York City in 2016.

 

In addition to his support for Islamists, Prime Minister Trudeau appears to be re-engaging with Iran after the previous Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) closed the Embassy of Iran in Canada and deported all of its diplomats. During the 2015 federal election, Trudeau said he hoped Canada "would be able to reopen its mission" and he was "fairly certain that there are ways to re-engage." Progress to date on this has been uneven, but talks appear to be continuing.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau's support for the Islamist cause has been consistent since he was first elected as a Member of Parliament in 2008. This position appears to have been reinforced since he became Prime Minister in 2015. In addition to his own position, Canada's Liberal Party also has an entryist problem as it has been targeted by Islamist groups.

 

Unfortunately for all concerned, the global Islamist ideology and its inherent problems of confrontation, oppression and violence are growing. Canada appears to be doing little to address these issues while accommodating those who form the ideological basis of the problem. Canada will not be able to plead ignorance or inability while facing accusations of complicity from any future American terrorist victims. The price of Canada's submission to the Islamists may indeed be high.

           

 

 

Contents

THE MUSLIM WORLD MUST CONFRONT THE

UNDERLYING PROBLEMS IN ISLAMIC THEOLOGY

Ahmed Shah

National Post, Oct. 31, 2017

 

In April of this year, Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old journalism student from Abdul Wali Khan University — a university in Pakistan, the country of my birth — was accused of blasphemy by a mob of students, dragged out of his dorm room, stripped naked, beaten, and shot dead. Khan self-identified as a “humanist” and had portraits of Karl Marx and Che Guevera hanging in his room. He’d also advocated for Islamic reform. A video of the incident showed the perpetrators crying “Allahu Akbar!” as they beat Khan’s lifeless body with terrifying zeal. The perpetrators of this violence were not members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). They were university students.

 

Khan’s gruesome death convinces me that the ideology that inspired ISIS will not soon be defeated, even though ISIS is on the precipice of military defeat. Its forces recently lost control of their capital city of Raqqa to the U.S.-backed and predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, and, three months before that, lost their largest city, Mosul, to Iraqi government forces.

 

The Muslim world has tended to treat ISIS as an anomaly, to assert that ISIS is not Islam. This response is intellectually lazy. Muslim-majority countries must confront the underlying problems within aspects of Islamic theology.

 

ISIS did not usher in a new concept. The concept of an Islamic State is old — centuries old, in fact. ISIS’s goal has been simple: to unite the Muslim world under the black banner of the Khilafah (or Caliphate), and to establish their set of divine laws (Sharia) on Earth. If you are a student of Islamic history, you will recognize myriad examples of ambitious sultans, emirs and warlords — from Timurlane to Aurangzeb — who shared this same desire to establish an Islamic theocracy.

 

While many Muslim-majority countries do not have a problem with theocratic states, many — including Saudi Arabia, a Sunni Muslim theocracy — have condemned ISIS as a terrorist organization. But these countries have often failed to specifically condemn the ideology that it operates on. They have not denounced, for example, ISIS’s criminal justice system as “un-Islamic.” Presumably, this is because many of these countries enforce very similar laws.

 

ISIS has been creative in its brutality, but the corporal punishments it inflicts are not conceptually novel. From stoning adulterers to amputating the hands of thieves, these punishments are all grounded in ancient Middle Eastern laws. Some of them are actually pre-Islamic (dating back to the times of Hammurabi in the 18th century B.C.E.), but are also mentioned in Biblical and Islamic traditions as part of Sharia. These punishments are also used by some Muslim governments, most notably Saudi Arabia and Iran, against citizens who commit these same crimes.

 

ISIS is known to inflict a particularly disgusting punishment on gay individuals, throwing them off rooftops or bludgeoning them to death. But this is simply ISIS’s recapitulation of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Allah (God) rained down fire and stones on a homosexual city, resulting in the death of all its inhabitants. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, in 2017, there were 12 countries in the world where homosexuality remains punishable by death. All of these are Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Somalia. Unfortunately, it is hard to find an example of ISIS ruthlessness that is not sanctioned by Islamic texts. Even the execution of apostates or the taking of female sex slaves (known as Malakat Aymanukum, which literally translates to “those females whom your right hands possess”) can be justified by reference to religious texts.

 

It is not enough for people of Muslim background — myself included — to simply reject ISIS as a “non-Muslim” organization. We have a responsibility to own up to the ideological problems present in our midst. The problem has never been just ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood or Boko Haram. The problem is the tree that brings forth these fruits. This is the tree of Islamic fundamentalism and the ethnocentric and religious supremacist way of thinking that it demands from its adherents.

 

The Muslim community needs to reject intellectual laziness and embrace bold thinkers who are prepared to reform Islam and its traditions. Individuals like Irshad Manji, Maajid Nawaz and Tawfik Hamid, for example, have emphasized the importance of reinterpreting violent passages within Islamic scriptures to combat Islamic extremism. Muslim-majority countries also need to separate Mosque and State, to better allow freedom of expression and protect their religious minorities. Islam must be depoliticized: one’s religious decisions should be a personal matter, rather than a force used to control the masses.

 

Currently, the Muslim world is in a dark age, where freedom of thought is absent. The first step is to acknowledge that ISIS is indeed a Muslim problem that needs to be dealt with by Muslims. If we fail to do so, we risk seeing the lives of more people destroyed, both abroad and overseas.

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

After Killing, Army Unlikely to Heed Calls for Revenge Against Palestinians: Judah Ari Gross, Times of Israel, Jan. 10, 2018—National and local politicians have led calls for the army to undertake aggressive action against local Palestinians in the wake of a deadly West Bank shooting attack Tuesday night, but it’s unlikely IDF brass will risk sparking a wider conflagration with a large-scale crackdown.

Sharia for New Year's: Bruce Bawer, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 7, 2018—Last September, a man named Mark Feigin posted five comments on the Facebook page of an Islamic center. They were not Islam-friendly.

Canada: Obsessed with "Islamophobia": Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 21, 2017— In September, the Canadian parliament began its study on how to combat "Islamophobia" as decided upon in the M-103 motion. A parliamentary committee, the M-103 committee, was established for that very purpose.

From “Lone Wolf” to “Known Wolf”: The Role of “Cultural Fuel” and “Personal Triggers”: Dr. Irwin J. Mansdorf, JCPA, January 7, 2018— When a solitary 37-year-old Palestinian Arab, known both to the local Israeli community and to security forces as non-threatening, friendly and as having good relations with all drew a pistol and killed three Israelis in Har Adar in September 2017, many questions that challenged the traditional thinking of who is a potential terrorist were raised.

                                                              

 

 

EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS SLAUGHTERED BY I.S.; MEANWHILE, CAIRO & U.S. RESET RELATIONS

 

 

44 Dead Christians: Islam’s Latest Victims: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Apr. 10, 2017— Egypt’s Christians started Holy Week celebrations by being blown up yesterday. 

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox are Proud to be Slain by ISIL for their Christianity. That is Awesome: Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Post, Apr. 11, 2017 — It is an awful thing — a blasphemous thing, a sacrilegious thing — to massacre people at prayer, as ISIL did on Palm Sunday in Egypt, killing more than 40 Coptic Orthodox at two churches, including the cathedral in Alexandria.

Fighting Terror, Appeasing Autocrats: Max Boot, Commentary, Apr. 10, 2017 — Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to President Trump signals the restoration of the close U.S.-Egyptian relations that have been a key pillar of U.S. policy toward the Middle East for four and half decades.

Can Trump Cut a Deal With Egypt?: Eric Trager, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2017 — The relationship between Egypt and the U.S. will look sunnier on Monday…

               

On Topic Links

 

Egypt Terror Ensnares Israel as Sinai Border Crossing Closed: Fox News, Apr. 10, 2017

A Day After Attack, Grief Turns to Anger for Egypt’s Christian Minority: Maria Abi-Habib and Dahlia Kholaif, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 10, 2017

Palm Sunday Bombing Underscores Depth of Egypt's Anti-Christian Bigotry: John Rossomando, IPT, Apr. 12, 2017

After White House Visit, Egyptian President Sisi Said to Be ‘Very Optimistic’ About Trump Administration: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Apr. 7, 2017

 

44 DEAD CHRISTIANS: ISLAM’S LATEST VICTIMS

                                                 Raymond Ibrahim                                                                                                                    Frontpage, Apr. 10, 2017

 

Egypt’s Christians started Holy Week celebrations by being blown up yesterday.  Two Coptic Christian Orthodox churches packed with worshippers for Palm Sunday mass were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers; a total of 44 were killed and 126 wounded and mutilated. Horrific scenes of carnage—limbs and blood splattered on altars and pews—are being reported from both churches.   Twenty-seven people—initial reports indicate mostly children—were killed in St. George’s in Tanta, north Egypt.  “Where is the government?” yelled an angry Christian there to AP reporters. “There is no government! There was a clear lapse in security, which must be tightened from now on to save lives.”

 

Less than two hours later, 17 people were killed in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, which—since the original church building founded by the Evangelist Mark in the first century was burned to the ground during the 7th  century Muslim invasions of Egypt—has been the historic seat of Coptic Christendom.  Pope Tawadros, who was present—and apparently targeted—evaded the carnage.

 

In death toll and severity, Sunday’s bombings surpass what was formerly considered the deadliest church attack in Egypt: less than four months ago, on Sunday, December 11, 2016, an Islamic suicide bomber entered the St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo during mass, detonated himself and killed at least 27 worshippers—mostly women and children—and wounded nearly 70.  Descriptions of scenes from that bombing are virtually identical to those coming from Egypt now: “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene.  I saw a headless woman being carried away.  Everyone was in a state of shock. We were scooping up people’s flesh off the floor.  There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes.” 

 

Before the December 11 attack, the deadliest church bombing occurred on January 1, 2011.  Then, while ushering in the New Year, 23 Christians were blown to bits. The Islamic state claims both December 11’s and yesterday’s bombings. (Because there was no “Islamic State” around in 2011, only generic “Islamics” can claim that one.)  This uptick in Christian persecution is believed to be in response to a video recently released by the Islamic State in Sinai.  In it, masked militants promised more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross,” a reference to the Copts of Egypt, whom they also referred to as their “favorite prey” and—in a bit of classic Muslim projection—as the “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations.”

 

It should be remembered that for every successful church bomb attack in Egypt, there are numerous failed or “too-insignificant-to-report” ones.   Thus, in the week before yesterday’s bombings, an explosive device was found by St. George’s in Tanta and dismantled in time.  Before that, another bomb was found planted at the Collège Saint Marc, an all-boys school in downtown Alexandria.  Similarly, a couple of weeks before December 11’s church bombing, a man hurled an improvised explosive at another church in Samalout.  Had that bomb detonated—it too was dismantled in time—casualties would likely have been very high, as the church was packed with thousands of worshippers congregating for a special holiday service.  In a separate December incident, Islamic slogans and messages of hate—including “you will die Christians”—were painted on the floor of yet another church, that of the Virgin Mary in Damietta.

 

Yesterday’s church bombings also follow a spate of murderous hate crimes against Christians throughout Egypt in recent weeks and month—crimes that saw Copts burned alive and slaughtered on busy streets and in broad daylight and displaced from the Sinai.  In a video of these destitute Copts, one man can be heard saying “They are burning us alive! They seek to exterminate Christians altogether!  Where’s the [Egyptian] military?”  Another woman yells at the camera, “Tell the whole world, look—we’ve left our homes, and why? Because they kill our children, they kill our women, they kill our innocent people!  Why? Our children are terrified to go to schools.  Why? Why all this injustice?!  Why doesn’t the president move and do something for us?  We can’t even answer our doors without being terrified!”…

 

In response to yesterday’s church bombings, President Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency, adding in a statement that such attacks will only strengthen the resolve of Egyptians against “evil forces.” For his part, President Trump tweeted that he is “so sad to hear of the terrorist attack” but that he has “great confidence” that Sisi “will handle the situation properly.”  Sisi further said in his statement that “Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations that tried to control Egypt.”

 

But what of what happens right inside of Egypt?  Is Sisi “handl[ing] the situation properly” there?  Whether those terrorizing Coptic Christians are truly card-holding members of ISIS or are mere sympathizers, the fact is they are all homegrown in Egypt—all taught to hate “infidels” in the mosques and schools of Egypt.

 

Sisi himself openly acknowledged this in 2015 when he stood before Egypt’s Islamic clerics of Al Azhar and implored them to do something about how Islam is taught to Muslims.  Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries” are  “antagonizing the entire world” and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

 

Just how seriously his words were taken was revealed last November when Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb—who appeared sitting in the front row during Sisi’s 2015 speech—defended Al Azhar’s reliance on that very same “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas … sacralized over the centuries” which many reformers are eager to see eliminated from Egypt’s curriculum because they support the most “radical” expressions of Islam—including killing apostates, burning infidels, persecuting Christians and destroying churches. 

 

Egypt’s Grand Imam went so far as to flippantly dismiss the call to reform as quixotic at best: When they [Sisi and reformers] say that Al Azhar must change the religious discourse, change the religious discourse, this too is, I mean, I don’t know—a new windmill that just appeared, this “change religious discourse”—what change religious discourse?  Al Azhar doesn’t change religious discourse—Al Azhar proclaims the true religious discourse, which we learned from our elders. And the law that the elders of Islam, the ulema, bequeathed to Muslims preaches hate for “infidels”—which, in Egypt, means Christians.  This is Egypt’s ultimate problem, not, to quote Sisi, foreign “countries and fascist, terrorist organizations,” which are symptoms of the problem.                                                                           

 

Contents   

                     

EGYPT’S COPTIC ORTHODOX ARE PROUD TO BE

SLAIN BY ISIL FOR THEIR CHRISTIANITY. THAT IS AWESOME

Father Raymond J. de Souza                                                                         

National Post, Apr. 11, 2017

 

It is an awful thing — a blasphemous thing, a sacrilegious thing — to massacre people at prayer, as ISIL did on Palm Sunday in Egypt, killing more than 40 Coptic Orthodox at two churches, including the cathedral in Alexandria. It is an awesome thing — literally rendering us full of awe — to behold the death of those killed while most fully Christian, singing God’s praises and giving witness to Him.

 

This is not the first jihadist massacre of Christians in Egypt; not so many years ago there will killings of Christians leaving Christmas Mass. I try not to let the lack of novelty diminish the hot and righteous anger that ought greet such assaults, but this time was different. By the time I heard the news — I spend less time following the travails of the world on Sundays — I was also able to hear the response of the Coptic Church. I bow my head before their great faith. “With great pride, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, the Church of Martyrs, bade her sons farewell, who were martyred today Sunday April 9, 2017, during the liturgy of Palm Sunday,” the official statement read. “They were carrying the palm leaves, praying and celebrating the commemoration of the entry of Christ, the King of Peace, to the city of Jerusalem.”

 

“The souls of the martyrs have been slain by the hands of the enemies of humanity, the enemies of peace and the carrier of tools of destruction. But now, with all the Church, they are offering their prayers to the Just Judge who sees, hears and writes a book of remembrance.” They have “great pride” that their own are counted among the number of the martyrs! What amazing grace. It was not their choice to be killed because they were Christians. It is their choice to receive that martyrdom precisely as Christians, strengthened, not diminished, in their faith. It is an inspiration, just as those Coptic Christians beheaded on the beach two years ago whispered the name of Jesus as the jihadists drew their knives against their necks.

 

“We have seen the photos. It is very heartbreaking,” said Bishop Makar of Sharquia about his fellow Orthodox murdered on Palm Sunday. “The deacons are standing for prayer, starting the liturgy on earth to be ended in heaven. I was one of them long ago; I used to stand with them, chanting hymns together. They continue now in heaven. Life with Christ starts on earth but it is completed in heaven.” For Orthodox and Catholics, the purpose of the liturgy is not only to listen to God and speak to Him, but more than that. The liturgy of heaven — the saints gathered around the crucified and risen Jesus — somehow breaks into this world. At the earthly liturgy we are already beholding what shall be. To be martyred like those deacons chanting, or the French priest murdered at the altar last summer, is to move directly from the antechamber of heaven to the great throne room.

 

The funerals were led by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II who was at the cathedral of Alexandria when the bombing took place there, but was not hurt. As leader of the 10-million Coptic Orthodox in Egypt, it may have been that ISIL planned to assassinate him. Alexandria is one of principal seats of ancient Christianity where, one might note, Christians have been worshipping since before Islam existed. When each coffin was brought in to the funeral, the congregation interrupted their sobs with thunderous applause. They recognized in their dead the principal mystery of this Holy Week: that the Cross of Christ ends not in the tomb, but with the promised glory of the resurrection.

 

On Palm Sunday, Christians wave palm branches, recalling the triumphal entry of Jesus — just days before His arrest and crucifixion — into Jerusalem, the holy city. The palm branch then was waved in homage, as for a king. In Christian iconography the palm branch has since become a symbol of martyrdom; martyred saints are often depicted carrying it. And so the Copts were, unwittingly, hailing the martyrs in their own midst. In every Catholic Church in the world on Palm Sunday, from the hermit priest at his solitary altar to the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Square, Psalm 22 was proclaimed. It begins with the cry that no doubt filled the churches in Egypt as the bombs exploded: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

 

The psalm is a prayer of great desperation, even a cry of dereliction. But it concludes with a confession of faith: “I will proclaim Your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will praise You.” That is what the Christians of Egypt did on Sunday, at the beginning of Holy Week. They proclaim God’s praises in the assembly and before the entire world.                                                                                   

 

Contents                                                                                                       

FIGHTING TERROR, APPEASING AUTOCRATS                                                                             

Max Boot                                                                                                                               

Commentary, Apr. 10, 2017

 

A week ago, President Trump rolled out the red carpet for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was persona non grata in the Obama White House because of his human-rights violations. There is no evidence that Trump even brought up the human-rights issue. Instead he extended unwavering praise, saying, “We agree on so many things. I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. The United States has, believe me, backing, and we have strong backing.”

 

It was widely noted that Trump enthusiastically shook Sisi’s hand after having previously refused to shake hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a photo-op. Body language spoke volumes. The reason for Trump’s embrace of the Egyptian president is obvious: He sees Sisi as a good guy because he overthrew a Muslim Broterhood regime and is actively repressing the Brothers. In the war against “radical Islamic terrorism,” there is no doubt which side Sisi is on. But while Sisi’s zeal in persecuting jihadists is undoubted, his skill and success are very much open to doubt. That was evident on Sunday when ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 44 people at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt. This is only the latest such attack; a previous bombing at a Christian church in December killed at least 28.

 

The situation in the Sinai, where the Egyptian ISIS affiliate is based, is even worse. As Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted: “ISIS in Sinai has used advanced weapons to shoot down Egyptian military helicopters, destroy an M60 battle tank, and sink an Egyptian patrol boat off the coast of El-Arish. It also claimed responsibility for the October 2015 bombing of a Russian passenger jet in which 224 civilians were killed. U.S. government officials estimate that approximately 2,000 Egyptian soldiers have been killed in Sinai since the operation began – a shocking figure, considering that estimates typically put ISIS in Sinai’s membership at 1,000-1,500.”

 

Why isn’t Sisi being more successful? A lot of the problem, Trager argues, is that Egypt’s military is still locked in a conventional warfare mindset, similar to the U.S. military in Vietnam or in the early stages of the Iraq War. Thus, the Egyptian generals neglect the kind of more subtle, less heavy-handed counterinsurgency approaches that are usually the most effective. Sisi’s widespread repression doesn’t help. Not only is he locking up large numbers of Muslim Brothers, but he is also targeting liberal civil-society activists and anyone else suspected of disloyalty to his regime. That could wind up costing his regime the kind of popular support it needs to effectively gather intelligence against the terrorists.

 

Meanwhile Sisi is mismanaging the economy. As Robert Kagan and Michelle Dunne, co-chairs of the bipartisan Working Group on Egypt, observed, while Sisi has made some positive moves such as floating Egypt’s currency and reducing energy subsidies, “he has failed to take badly needed steps to train the burgeoning labor force and to encourage job creation in the private sector. According to official statistics, Egypt’s misery index in February was 45 percent: 33 percent core inflation plus 12 percent unemployment. Unemployment among Egyptians under 30 is much higher. Instead, Sissi has funneled billions into the vast business empire of the Egyptian military. Mega-construction projects such as the $8 billion Suez Canal expansion and the $45 billion new desert capital city keep the generals happy — and Sissi coup-proof.”

 

In short, Sisi is hardly a model ally, even if his rule is preferable to that of the Muslim Brotherhood. There is a real danger, in fact, that, just like Hosni Mubarak, he is presiding over a repressive, dysfunctional regime that will create more terrorism than it eliminates. As a major Sisi backer, the U.S. will find itself in the crosshairs of Egyptian radicals. Given that the current head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is an Egyptian physician who was radicalized under the Mubarak regime, we know what that kind of blowback might look like. there is a case for giving Sisi a bear-hug and then, once he has confidence in the United States, pressuring him to ease up on human-rights violation, to refine his blunderbuss conventional campaign against terrorism, and to take badly needed steps for economic growth. Perhaps that is Trump’s strategy. But Sisi, who receives $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid, is more likely getting the message that Washington has given him a blank check for repression. That will not serve U.S. interests well.                            

 

Contents

                                                                        

CAN TRUMP CUT A DEAL WITH EGYPT?                                                                                         

Eric Trager                                                                                                   

Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2017

 

The relationship between Egypt and the U.S. will look sunnier on Monday, when President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi visits President Trump in Washington. Under the Obama administration, Mr. Sisi’s authoritarianism made him persona non grata. The key question: Can Mr. Trump translate the warm welcome into a “good deal” for America? This isn’t the first U.S.-Egypt “reset.” Upon taking office, President Obama courted Mr. Sisi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, who had resented the Bush administration’s “freedom agenda.” Mr. Obama emphasized convergence with Egypt on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while playing down human-rights concerns.

 

Mr. Obama’s priorities shifted, however, once Mr. Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. The White House backed Egypt’s democratic transition and cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi, who won the 2012 presidential election. The following year, after mass protests in Egypt, the military, led by Mr. Sisi, ousted Mr. Morsi and oversaw a deadly crackdown on Morsi supporters. The Obama White House responded by withholding weapons shipments. Cairo interpreted this as U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt soon declared a terrorist organization. Weapons shipments resumed in 2015, but Cairo’s distrust of Washington persisted. Meanwhile, Egypt deepened its ties to Russia through arms deals and joint military exercises.

 

Now Mr. Sisi will encounter a friendlier White House. Mr. Trump is skeptical of democracy promotion and won’t press Egypt on political reform. Officials in the Trump administration have praised Mr. Sisi’s 2014 speech urging Muslim clerics to combat extremism. And they share his view that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.

 

Warmer relations could improve intelligence sharing and strategic cooperation. At the very least, Cairo should consult with Washington regarding Russia’s reported deployment of troops in western Egypt. Perhaps support for Mr. Sisi would dampen the anti-Americanism in Egypt’s media. If Mr. Trump insists, maybe Mr. Sisi will release Aya Hegazy, a U.S. citizen who has been arbitrarily detained since 2014. Still, both countries’ domestic politics pose challenges. Egyptian officials have requested more U.S. military and economic aid. Egypt also wants Washington to renew cash-flow financing, which enables it to sign more expensive weapons contracts. But Mr. Trump vows to cut foreign aid.

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump ought to prioritize Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts. Egypt’s military was built to fight land wars, and its brass refuses to focus aid on counterterrorism. Cairo may try to win this debate by playing to Mr. Trump’s pledge to create jobs: Buying weapons systems ultimately helps employment in the defense industry. Mr. Trump’s best chance to cut a “good deal” with Mr. Sisi may be on Monday, when the Egyptian leader receives the Washington welcome he has long desired. But if Mr. Sisi pockets that victory without conceding anything on his country’s deepening relationship with Russia, prosecution of Americans, or aid priorities, Mr. Trump will have wasted Washington’s best hand in years.

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt Terror Ensnares Israel as Sinai Border Crossing Closed: Fox News, Apr. 10, 2017—Warnings of an "imminent" terror attack forced Israel to close its Taba border crossing to the Sinai peninsula Monday, one day after terrorists in Egypt bombed two Christian churches, killing dozens of worshippers on Palm Sunday.

A Day After Attack, Grief Turns to Anger for Egypt’s Christian Minority: Maria Abi-Habib and Dahlia Kholaif, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 10, 2017—As family and friends gathered Monday to bury a university student killed in the suicide attack on worshipers here on Palm Sunday, grief boiled over into anger over the government’s inability to protect Egypt’s Christian minority.

Palm Sunday Bombing Underscores Depth of Egypt's Anti-Christian Bigotry: John Rossomando, IPT, Apr. 12, 2017—Suicide bombings of two Coptic churches in Egypt Sunday by ISIS terrorists should not be viewed in isolation. The bombings killed 44 people and injured 100 more, and mark the deadliest in a series of attacks targeting the country's Christian minority.

After White House Visit, Egyptian President Sisi Said to Be ‘Very Optimistic’ About Trump Administration: Barney Breen-Portnoy, Algemeiner, Apr. 7, 2017—Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is “very optimistic” about the Trump administration, a lobbyist who took part in a Washington, DC meeting with the leader this week told The Algemeiner on Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEST INDIFFERENT TO ISLAMIST PERSECUTION OF EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS

Christians Fear for Their Lives in the Middle East: Micah Halpern, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2017— Christians fear for their lives in certain parts of the Middle East. Islamic State (ISIS) has called them its primary target – its “favorite prey.”

A New Genocide for Egypt’s Christians?: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Mar. 2, 2017— Yet another murderous wave is taking Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority by storm, leading to yet another exodus from their homes. 

Hungary’s Ugly State-Sponsored Holocaust Revisionism: James Kirchick, Tablet, Mar. 13, 2017 — A stone’s throw from Budapest’s majestic Gothic revival parliament building, Freedom Square teems with monuments attesting to Hungary’s turbulent 20th century.

The Holocaust’s Great Escape: Matthew Shaer, Smithsonian, Mar. 2017— Shortly after dawn one January day in 1944, a German military truck departed the center of Vilnius, in what is today Lithuania, and rattled southwest toward the fog-laced towns that ringed the city.

               

On Topic Links

 

Christian Groups Launch TV Series Defending Israel: Benjamin Glatt, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2017

Persecuted Christians Suffer “Worst Year Yet,” Mostly Under Islam: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Mar. 30, 2017

In Rediscovered Telegram, Himmler Offers Jerusalem’s Mufti Help Against ‘Jewish Intruders’: Sue Surkes, Times of Israel, Mar. 30, 2017

‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ Review: Maladaptation of the Species: Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2017

 

 

CHRISTIANS FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST                                                 

Micah Halpern

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 27, 2017

 

Christians fear for their lives in certain parts of the Middle East. Islamic State (ISIS) has called them its primary target – its “favorite prey.” And still, the plight and the tragedy of Middle East Christians go relatively unnoticed by the larger Christian and Western world.

The Christian community in Egypt numbers about nine million. It is the largest Christian community in the Middle East – and ISIS has hit it hard. Most Christians in Egypt are Copts, they have their own pope and their own tradition and they do not genuflect to Rome. They date themselves back to St. Mark in Alexandria during the period of Roman Emperor Claudius at about the year 42 CE, just after the death of Jesus. Copts call themselves “Christians of Egypt.” They are arguably the oldest Christian community in the world.

 

In December about 30 Egyptian Copts, mostly women and children, were massacred and many more were wounded, in their church, by ISIS. Other than AP and Reuters only a handful of media in the world covered the terrorist attacks by running the wire releases. Even fewer made more than casual mention of the atrocities against and persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

The events befalling the Christian community in Egypt are not simply newsworthy, they are an essential tool with which to elucidate the fragile status of a minority community in the Middle East – Christians among Muslims. These persecutions are important tools in measuring the activities of Arab governments and their responses to the challenge. Jews standing up and calling attention to the plight of Christians living under Muslim regime and being murdered by ISIS while worldwide Christian leadership remains silent smacks of only a slight touch of irony.

We need to prevent the oppression of minorities, and we know the importance of defending those who cannot defend themselves. And while there are those in the Arabic world who say that Jews are exaggerating these atrocities only to make these Muslim regimes look bad, I say poppycock. When extremist groups like ISIS are freely murdering it becomes big news in Israel. The most obvious reason is because Israel may be next, because Israel – as the world should know – is on the front line.

Over the past few weeks ISIS has produced and posted a “hit list” of Christians it intends to murder. So far ISIS has murdered seven people; one was beheaded, another was burned alive. A father and son, members of the Hana family, were dumped on the side of the road after ISIS shot the father dead and burned his son alive. The symbolism should not be lost. In Islam the symbol of dumping a dead body on the side of the road outside a town, in this case the town was al-Arish, is very telling. It means the victims are seen by the murderers an unfit for human burial and instead worthy only of being thrown to the dogs to be mauled and eaten. The victims are seen by the murderers as subhuman. And that is the way ISIS views all Christians, but most of all, the Christians of the Middle East.

Many Christians are fleeing the Sinai where these attacks have taken place. They have seen the writing on the wall and heard the promise of future threats. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi condemned the recent attacks, much in the same way that he condemned the December massacre. But that’s all he’s done – little else has happened and the Christians rightfully fear for their lives. Despite the AP and Reuters coverage of the persecutions the massacres of Christians in the Middle East has barely made a blip on the radar of the Western news media.

Sisi is reacting much the way Western media is reacting. The Copts are not a part of the mainstream; they don’t belong. Their tradition, their practice looks nothing like Western Christianity. There are no significant populations and affiliations outside of Egypt to take up the battle cry and defend them. Libya and Sudan have small Coptic communities, but they’re not going to make waves and risk their relative safety to help out in Egypt. Western Catholic and Protestant groups are not connected to these Christians who are part of the Eastern Church, sometimes referred to as the National Churches. That leaves Israel and Jews around the world.

Defense of Egypt’s Christian community is not purely selfless. We have, as they say, skin in the game. We must call attention to the plight of the Christians under ISIS and other oppressors in order to make certain that moderate regimes in the region remain stable. Egypt must protect the Christians and destroy ISIS because otherwise ISIS will destabilize the entire country and the region. ISIS is recruiting members to help oppress the Christians. Protecting Christians will protect the region. Ultimately, it will protect Israel, too.

                                                                           

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A NEW GENOCIDE FOR EGYPT’S CHRISTIANS? 

Raymond Ibrahim

                                                            Frontpage, Mar. 2, 2017

 

Yet another murderous wave is taking Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority by storm, leading to yet another exodus from their homes. Last week in al-Arish, Sinai, Islamic State affiliates killed a 65-year-old Christian man by shooting him in the head; they then abducted and tortured his 45-year-old son, before burning him alive and dumping his charred remains near a schoolyard. Perhaps because of its sensationalist nature—burning a human alive—this story was reported by some Western media.  Yet the atrocities hardly begin or end there.  Below is a list of Christians murdered in al-Arish in recent days and weeks:

January 30:  A 35-year-old Christian was in his small shop working with his wife and young son when three masked men walked in, opened fire on him, instantly killing the Copt.  The murderers then sat around his table, eating chips and drinking soda, while the body lay in a pool of blood before the terrified wife and child.

 

February 13: A 57-year-old Christian laborer was shot and killed as he tried to fight off masked men trying to kidnap his young son from off a crowded street in broad daylight.   After murdering the father, they seized his young son and took him to an unknown location (where, per precedent, he is likely being tortured, possibly already killed, if a hefty ransom was not already paid). February 16: A 45-year-old Christian schoolteacher was moonlighting at his shoe shop with his wife, when masked men walked in the crowded shop and shot him dead. February 17:  A 40-year-old medical doctor was killed by masked men who, after forcing him to stop his car, opened fire on and killed him.  He too leaves a widow and two children.

 

It is likely that more Christians have been slain recently in Sinai; because they are being killed in quick succession, it is not clear if ongoing reports are documenting the same or new incidences.   For instance, a recent February 24 report says “On Thursday [February 23], a [Christian] plumber in the city was shot dead in front of his wife and children at their home….  A day earlier [February 22], gunmen killed another [Christian] man before his pregnant wife, then calmly drank a bottle of Pepsi before taking off, witnesses told aid workers in Ismailia.”  Is the February 22 Pepsi drinking incident the same as the one reported above as occurring on January 30, or a different one?

 

This recent uptick in Christian persecution is believed to be in response to a video earlier released by the Islamic State in Sinai.  In it, masked militants promise more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross,” a reference to the Copts of Egypt, whom they also referred to as their “favorite prey” and the “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations.”

As a result of the recent slayings and threats of more to come, at least 300 Christians living in al-Arish have fled their homes, with nothing but their clothes on their backs and their children in their hands.  Most have congregated in a Coptic church compound in neighboring Ismailia by the Suez Canal.  (Note: Donations that go directly to the dislocated Christians of al-Arish can be made here).

 

In a video of these destitute Copts, one man can be heard saying “They are burning us alive! They seek to exterminate Christians altogether!  Where’s the [Egyptian] military?”  Another woman yells at the camera, “Tell the whole world, look—we’ve left our homes, and why? Because they kill our children, they kill our women, they kill our innocent people!  Why! Our children are terrified to go to schools.  Why? Why all this injustice!  Why doesn’t the president move and do something for us?  We can’t even answer our doors without being terrified!”

 

For his part, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered military and security forces to “completely eradicate terrorism” in North Sinai.  Such a response might be reassuring to al-Arish’s Christians—if it wasn’t also dejavu.  Back in 2012, and in response to what Islamists perceived as widespread Christian support for Sisi’s military coup of then president Morsi—Copts in Sinai were heavily plummeted: one priest, Fr. Mina Cherubim, was shot dead in front of his church; a 65-year- old Christian trader was beheaded; several other Christians, including youths, were kidnapped, held for ransom, and later executed when the exorbitant ransoms could not be met.   Two churches were attacked, one burned. Just as now, hundreds of Christians fled their homes; and, just as now, Sisi vowed to root out the jihadi nests in Sinai… 

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

           

 

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HUNGARY’S UGLY STATE-SPONSORED HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM                                                                

James Kirchick                                                                                                                                        

Tablet, Mar. 13, 2017

 

A stone’s throw from Budapest’s majestic Gothic revival parliament building, Freedom Square teems with monuments attesting to Hungary’s turbulent 20th century. Dominating the north side of the plaza is a giant obelisk constructed by the Soviet Union and dedicated to the city’s Red Army liberators. A few paces south one finds a statue of Imre Nagy, the executed hero of Hungary’s 1956 anti-Soviet revolt, standing on a bridge looking forlornly on parliament. At the southern end of the square, outside a Calvinist church, stares a bust of Admiral Miklós Horthy, the authoritarian regent under whose reign Hungary passed the first anti-Semitic law of 20th-century Europe in 1920, allied with the Axis powers, and deported some half-million Jews to Auschwitz in the largest and swiftest mass transfer of the Final Solution. In the middle of it all, a bronzed Ronald Reagan walks briskly toward the nearby U.S. embassy. With its abundant memorials, this one plaza commemorates the grand sweep of Europe’s most influential 20th-century ideologies: communism, nationalism, fascism, and democracy.

 

On the Sunday morning of July 20, 2014, police cordoned off Freedom Square while construction workers put the finishing touches on an addition to this urban tableau already brimming with historical tributes: the Memorial to the Victims of the German Occupation. From the moment its construction was announced, following an opaque artistic competition lacking public consultation, it had been the subject of heated dispute. Beginning with its very title, which labels the unimpeded movement of German soldiers onto friendly territory an “occupation,” the memorial absolves Hungarians of complicity in the Holocaust. Depicting the Archangel Gabriel (described in the plans as “the man of God, symbol of Hungary”) under attack from a sharp-clawed German imperial eagle, it portrays the Hungarian nation as a collective victim of Nazi predation. This distortion of history obscures both the specifically anti-Jewish nature of the Holocaust and the Hungarian state’s active collaboration in mass murder. Randolph Braham, professor emeritus at the City University of New York and himself a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, writes about the role played by Hungarian authorities in the crime: “With Horthy still at the helm and providing the symbol of national sovereignty, the approximately 200,000 Hungarian policemen, gendarmes, civil servants, and ‘patriotic’ volunteers had collaborated in the anti-Jewish drive with a routine and efficiency that impressed even the relatively few SS who had served as ‘advisers.’ ” So able and willing were the Nazis’ Hungarian accomplices that Adolf Eichmann, the SS official in charge of deporting the country’s Jews to the death camps, managed to oversee the gruesome task with just 200 Germans at his command.

 

Had the nationalist government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán not spent the previous four years conducting a campaign of historical distortion regarding the country’s Holocaust history, one might be more charitable about its motives for constructing this monument. Through a set of government-sponsored historical institutes, publicly funded documentaries, revisions to school curricula, bestowal of state honors to extreme right-wing figures, and erections of public monuments and museum exhibitions, the Orbán administration has disseminated a narrative that minimizes Hungarian culpability in the extermination of some half-million Jews and rehabilitates Horthy’s reputation from that of opportunistic Nazi ally to selfless defender of national independence.

 

Opposition to this revisionist crusade reached a critical phase in January 2014, around the same time that plans for the occupation memorial were unveiled. After the director of a government-subsidized historical center phlegmatically referred to the 1941 deportations of Jews living under Hungarian authority as a “police action against aliens,” outraged leaders of the Hungarian Jewish community announced they would cease cooperation with the government on activities marking the 70th-anniversary Holocaust Remembrance Year. Orbán decided to postpone work on the monument until after national elections in April, at which point consultations on its design would resume. But just two days after his party, Fidesz, secured a landslide victory, Orbán reneged on his promise and workers returned to the construction site, which by then had to be patrolled by police to keep protesters at bay. In an open letter to Orbán, 30 members of the U.S. Congress stated that while “Hungary is an important ally and partner of the United States,” it should “build an appropriate memorial that tells the entire Hungarian story of the Nazi Occupation, not one that whitewashes the truth.” Orbán was unmoved. The Hungarian government completed its controversial memorial in the dead of night, slipping the bronze angel and eagle into the square disguised in metal foil.

 

Budapest’s Memorial to the Victims of the German Occupation is distinguished not only by its revisionist message but also its vulgar design. Holocaust memorials tend to be solemn and subtly allegorical. Around the corner from the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s more accurately named Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe—2,711 black concrete stelae arranged in a mazelike pattern on a sloping plaza—immediately unsettles visitors with its figurative representation of the Holocaust’s unfathomable depth. Elsewhere in Budapest, “Shoes on the Danube Bank” displays 60 pairs of iron footwear fastened to the river’s stone embankment, marking the last standing place of Jews who, every day during the 1944-1945 winter, were ordered to take off their shoes before being shot by Arrow Cross militiamen, the Nazis’ Hungarian accomplices…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                                   

 

Contents

 

THE HOLOCAUST’S GREAT ESCAPE

Matthew Shaer

Smithsonian, Mar. 2017

 

Shortly after dawn one January day in 1944, a German military truck departed the center of Vilnius, in what is today Lithuania, and rattled southwest toward the fog-laced towns that ringed the city. Near the village of Ponar, the vehicle came to a halt, and a pale 18-year-old named Motke Zeidel, chained at the ankles, was led from the cargo hold.

 

Zeidel had spent the previous two years in German-occupied Vilnius, in the city’s walled-off Jewish ghetto. He’d watched as the Nazis sent first hundreds and then thousands of Jews by train or truck or on foot to a camp in the forest. A small number of people managed to flee the camp, and they returned with tales of what they’d seen: rows of men and women machine-gunned down at close range. Mothers pleading for the lives of their children. Deep earthen pits piled high with corpses. And a name: Ponar.

 

Now Zeidel himself had arrived in the forest. Nazi guards led him through a pair of gates and past a sign: “Entrance Strictly Forbidden. Danger to life. Mines.” Ahead, through the gaps in the pines, he saw massive depressions in the ground covered with fresh earth—the burial pits. “This is it,” he said to himself. “This is the end.”

 

The Nazi killing site at Ponar is today known to scholars as one of the first examples of the “Holocaust by bullets”—the mass shootings that claimed the lives of upwards of two million Jews across Eastern Europe. Unlike the infamous gas chambers at places like Auschwitz, these murders were carried out at close range, with rifles and machine guns. Significantly, the killings at Ponar marked the transition to the Final Solution, the Nazi policy under which Jews would no longer be imprisoned in labor camps or expelled from Europe but exterminated. Zeidel braced for the crack of a rifle. It never came. Opening his eyes, he found himself standing face to face with a Nazi guard, who told him that beginning immediately, he must work with other Jewish prisoners to cut down the pine trees around the camp and transport the lumber to the pits. “What for?” Zeidel later recalled wondering. “We didn’t know what for.”

 

A week later, he and other members of the crew received a visit from the camp’s Sturmbannführer, or commander, a 30-year-old dandy who wore boots polished shiny as mirrors, white gloves that reached up to his elbows, and smelled strongly of perfume. Zeidel remembered what the commandant told them: “Just about 90,000 people were killed here, lying in mass graves.” But, the Sturmbannführer explained, “there must not be any trace” of what had happened at Ponar, lest Nazi command be linked to the mass murder of civilians. All the bodies would have to be exhumed and burned. The wood collected by Zeidel and his fellow prisoners would form the pyres.

 

By late January, roughly 80 prisoners, known to historians as the Burning Brigade, were living in the camp, in a subterranean wood-walled bunker they’d built themselves. Four were women, who washed laundry in large metal vats and prepared meals, typically a chunk of ice and dirt and potato melted down to stew. The men were divided into groups. The weaker men maintained the pyres that smoldered through the night, filling the air with the heavy smell of burning flesh. The strongest hauled bodies from the earth with bent and hooked iron poles. One prisoner, a Russian named Yuri Farber, later recalled that they could identify the year of death based on the corpse’s level of undress: People who were murdered in 1941 were dressed in their outer clothing. In 1942 and 1943, however, came the so-called “winter aid campaign” to “voluntarily” give up warm clothing for the German Army. Beginning in 1942, people were herded in and forced to undress to their underwear.

 

Double-sided ramps were built inside the pits. One crew hauled stretchers filled with corpses up the ramp, and another crew pushed the bodies onto the pyre. In a week, the Burning Brigade might dispose of 3,500 bodies or more. Later, the guards forced prisoners to sift through the ashes with strainers, looking for bone fragments, which would then be pounded down into powder.

 

All told, historians have documented at least 80,000 people shot at Ponar between 1941 and 1944, and many believe the true number is greater still. Ninety percent of those killed were Jews. That the Nazis charged a brigade of prisoners to disinter and dispose of the bodies, in the most sickening of circumstances, only amplifies the horror. “From the moment when they made us bring up the corpses, and we understood that we wouldn’t get out of there alive, we reflected on what we could do,” Zeidel remembered. And so the prisoners turned to one thought: escape.

 

Richard Freund, an American archaeologist at the University of Hartford, in Connecticut, specializes in Jewish history, modern and ancient. He has been traversing the globe for almost three decades, working at sites as varied as Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, and at Sobibor, a Nazi extermination camp in eastern Poland. Unusually for a man in his profession, he rarely puts trowel to earth. Instead, Freund, who is rumpled and stout, with eyes that seem locked in a perpetual squint, practices what he calls “noninvasive archaeology,” which uses ground-penetrating radar and other types of computerized electronic technology to discover and describe structures hidden underground…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Christian Groups Launch TV Series Defending Israel: Benjamin Glatt, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 7, 2017—A partnership of Christians groups have collaborated to create a series called “Why Israel Matters,” which intends to set the record straight on Israel and the Jewish state. Christians in Defense of Israel (CIDI), Liberty Counsel and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) produced the 13-part original series that demonstrates the crucial importance of the Jewish state to Christians, to the United States and to the world in general. The first episode, which debuted February 28, can be seen online on TBN.

Persecuted Christians Suffer “Worst Year Yet,” Mostly Under Islam: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Mar. 30, 2017—The persecution of Christians around the world, but especially in the Muslim world, has reached an all-time high—with 2016 being the “worst year yet,” according to Open Doors, which recently released its annual ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.

In Rediscovered Telegram, Himmler Offers Jerusalem’s Mufti Help Against ‘Jewish Intruders’: Sue Surkes, Times of Israel, Mar. 30, 2017 —A telegram from Heinrich Himmler to the grand mufti of Jerusalem has been found in the archives of Israel’s National Library.

‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ Review: Maladaptation of the Species: Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 30, 2017—A single sequence can define the essence of a movie, or hint at what the movie might have been. In “The Zookeeper’s Wife” it’s the Luftwaffe’s bombing of the Warsaw zoo in September 1939, when Hitler’s forces have just invaded Poland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIDDLE EAST CHRISTIANS, ALLIES OF ISRAEL & WEST, SEEK REFUGE FROM PERSECUTION

Trump Helps Persecuted Christians and Protects America with One Move: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Feb. 2, 2017— During a recent interview with CBN, President Trump was asked if he thinks America should prioritize persecuted Christians as refugees. 

Assyrian Statehood: Preventing a Rupture in Kurdish-American Relations: Bradley Martin, JNS, Feb. 9, 2017— Assyrian autonomy would do more than rectify a centuries-old injustice.

The True Face of Christendom: Earl Cox, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2017— With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in America and Europe, it is imperative that Israel knows who her true friends are.

Christian Realism and Christian Zionism: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Jan. 24, 2017 — Back in the  early 1940s, when the World Zionist Organization as was seeking credible Christian support for the cause of creating a Jewish State…

 

On Topic Links

 

Canada Heading Towards Blasphemy Law: Raheel Raza, Clarion Project, Feb. 13, 2017

‘Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg’ Review: Documenting Atrocities: Mark Yost, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017

The West's Real Bigotry: Rejecting Persecuted Christians: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 5, 2017

United Church of Christ Indoctrinates Children to Hate: Abraham Cooper and Dexter van Zile, Huffington Post, Dec. 15, 2017

 

TRUMP HELPS PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

AND PROTECTS AMERICA WITH ONE MOVE                                                  

Raymond Ibrahim

                      Frontpage, Feb. 2, 2017

                       

During a recent interview with CBN, President Trump was asked if he thinks America should prioritize persecuted Christians as refugees.  He responded: Yes.  Yes, they’ve been horribly treated.  If you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, or at least very, very tough, to get into the United States.  If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair — everybody was persecuted, in all fairness — but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.

 

This is a far different response than that given by Barrack Hussein Obama back in November 2015.  Then, as president, he lashed out against the idea of giving preference to Christian refugees, describing it as “shameful”: “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” Obama had added.

 

While Obama was making such lofty admonishments, his administration was quietly discriminating against Mideast Christians in a myriad of ways—including, as Trump pointed out, by aggressively accepting Muslim refugees over Christian ones.  Despite the U.S. government’s own acknowledgement that ISIS was committing genocide against Christians in Syria—and not against fellow Sunni Muslims—the Obama administration took in 5,435 Muslims, almost all of which were Sunni, but only 28 Christians.  Considering that Christians are 10 percent of Syria’s population, to be on an equal ratio with Muslims entering America, at least 500 Christians should’ve been granted asylum, not 28.

 

But questions of equality aside, the idea of prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims (which I argued for back in 2015) is not only more humane; it brings benefits to America as well. Consider the facts:

 

Unlike Muslims, Christian minorities are being singled out and persecuted simply because of their despised religious identity.  From a humanitarian point of view—and humanitarianism is the reason being cited for accepting millions of refugees—Christians should receive top priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East.  Even before the Islamic State was formed, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims—Muslim individuals, Muslim mobs, and Muslim regimes, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian)—and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one.  (See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate and contempt for Christians.)

 

Conversely, Muslim refugees—as opposed to the many ISIS and other jihadi sympathizers posing as “refugees”—are not fleeing religious persecution (as mentioned, 99% of Muslim refugees accepted into the U.S. are, like ISIS, Sunnis), but chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion.  Hence why when large numbers of Muslims enter Western nations—in Germany, Sweden, France, the UK—tension, crimes, rapes, and terrorism soar.

 

Indeed, what more proof is needed than the fact that so-called Muslim “refugees” are throwing Christians overboard during their boat voyages across the Mediterranean to Europe?  Or that Muslim majority refugee centers in Europe are essentially microcosms of Muslim majority nations: there, Christian minorities continue to be persecuted.  One report found that 88% of the 231 Christian refugees interviewed in Germany have suffered religiously motivated persecution in the form of insults, death threats, and sexual assaults. Some were pressured to convert to Islam.  “I really didn’t know that after coming to Germany I would be harassed because of my faith in the very same way as back in Iran,” one Christian refugee said. 

 

Is persecuting religious minorities the behavior of people who are in need of refugee status in America?   Or is this behavior yet another reminder that it is non-Muslims from the Middle East who are truly in need of sanctuary?

 

The U.S. should further prioritize Christian refugees because U.S. foreign policies are directly responsible for exacerbating their persecution.  Christians did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muamar Gaddafi’s Libya.  Their systematic persecution—to the point of genocide—began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations under the pretext of “democracy.”  All they did is unleash the jihadi forces that the dictators had long kept suppressed. Now the Islamic State is deeply embedded in all three nations, enslaving, raping, and slaughtering countless Christian “infidels” and other minorities…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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ASSYRIAN STATEHOOD:

PREVENTING A RUPTURE IN KURDISH-AMERICAN RELATIONS                                                           

Bradley Martin

JNS, Feb. 9, 2017

 

Assyrian autonomy would do more than rectify a centuries-old injustice. It could also be the key to preventing irreversible damage to relations between the U.S. and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban against seven Muslim-majority countries has been met with a growing backlash in the Middle East. In response to Trump’s executive order, the Iraqi parliament voted to support reciprocal restrictions, barring Americans from entering Iraq unless Washington reverses its decision. This leaves Iraqi Kurds in a very precarious position.

 

“The KRG must now decide whether to help unify Iraq or go to war with Iraq,” said retired Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, an expert on Assyrian Christians and CEO of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement. “The Kurds may now feel compelled to implement their own travel ban against U.S. citizens, since their Muslim brethren would interpret such opposition as both a betrayal and an unpardonable offense against their religion.” Any refusal by the KRG to implement such a ban would put the Kurds at odds with the federal government in Baghdad. It would also prove damaging to Kurdish aspirations for independence, since the KRG cannot afford to enter negotiations while opposing the travel bans imposed by Iran and Iraq against American citizens.

 

By supporting Assyrian statehood, the KRG would send a clear message that it stands firmly with the U.S. and Western values. The three countries would share an unbreakable bond based on shared morals and economic prosperity. Assyrians are indigenous to Mesopotamia, and their history spans more than 6,700 years. When the Assyrian Empire came to an end in 612 B.C.E, the Assyrians would go on to become the first nation to convert to Christianity. The Assyrian language, a dialect of Aramaic, is likely what Jesus would have spoken during his lifetime.

 

Prior to the Islamic conquest of the Middle East, the Assyrian Church had an estimated 80 million adherents. Today, the Assyrian population throughout the world has been reduced to a little more than 4 million. Continuous murder, rape and forcible conversions to Islam have resulted in as much as 95 percent of this ancient community being forced to live outside (their) native region.

 

Until 2003, the Assyrian-Christian population numbered 1.5 million in Iraq. By the end of 2015, that number had been reduced to an estimated 150,000. This constitutes a 90-percent reduction of the Assyrian Christian population in their ancestral homeland. This genocide of Assyrians continues today, with the Islamic State terror group committing mass murder, forced conversions, rape and the destruction of Christian holy sites under its dominion. “If a new Assyrian state becomes a reality, Assyrians from all over the world would go back,” said Sangari. “The majority of talented, Western-educated Assyrians would probably go back as well.”

 

American Assyrians who return to their homeland would represent a link to the U.S., which the KRG could cultivate by supporting the foundation of this new Assyrian state. President Trump recently stated that persecuted Christians in the Middle East would be given priority as refugees. If the KRG were to aid in the rebuilding of the Assyrian national homeland, this would represent a goodwill gesture that would reverberate to Washington and send a powerful message that the genocide of Christians in the region will not be tolerated.

 

Western-educated Assyrians would serve as a significant boon to the region. Coupled with oil production, a sophisticated economy would emerge for everyone’s benefit. Kurdish statehood is therefore contingent on the rebirth of an Assyrian state. Although KRG President Massud Barzani recently stated that a declaration of Kurdish independence was imminent, the problem is that the KRG remains deeply divided. There is no guarantee that the two factions that make up the Kurdish Peshmerga forces will remain unified, since both militias remain deeply partisan. This division, compounded by potential conflicts with Iran and Iraq, does not bode well for the continued survival of a Kurdish state. Rather than a blessing, oil wealth would be a regional curse as it is used to fund further military campaigns.

 

If the KRG supported the rebirth of an Assyrian state, it would have a reliable and powerful ally in the region. A new U.S.-backed alliance between Kurdistan, Assyria and Israel that enshrines Western principles of freedom and democracy would create an oasis of peace and prosperity in an area of the world that desperately needs it.

 

Bradley Martin is a CIJR Student Intern and Deputy Editor

 

Contents

 

THE TRUE FACE OF CHRISTENDOM

Earl Cox

Jerusalem Post, Feb. 12, 2017

 

With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise in America and Europe, it is imperative that Israel knows who her true friends are. It’s sad and disturbing that anti-Semitism in the West originated with the early church fathers. How could this be? Jews and Christians share a common heritage: both are people of the Book; both our Scriptures confirm the Jews as G-d’s chosen people, whom He loves, and to whom He promised the land of Israel by everlasting covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their descendants.

 

Christian Scripture talks about dividing the sheep from the goats. These foundations of the faith should be no-brainers. Yet a deep divide emerged in Christendom beginning with the First Century church fathers. Its two main issues were the authority and interpretation of the Bible, and God’s love and plan for Israel. It’s an anomaly that the cultural/political church has a history of anti-Semitism—especially mainstream denominations such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and others.

 

Cultural, politicized Christianity has spawned “politically correct” positions that conflict with biblical truth. For example, the false doctrine of replacement theology teaches that the church has “replaced” Judaism, that Jews have no future in G-d’s plan, or sovereignty over Israel and Jerusalem; thus all G-d’s promises and blessings have become the church’s exclusive domain. Nothing could be further than the truth. Replacement theologians squirmed in 1948 when the Lord returned the captivity of Zion and Israel was reborn in a day!

 

Here’s a sampling of how poisonous anti-Semitism infiltrated the early church: Justin Martyr, who called Gentile believers the “new” Israel, wrote: “The Jewish Scriptures are no longer yours, they are now ours.” Irenaeus: “The Jews are now disinherited from the grace of God.” Tertullian: “God has rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians.” Eusebius: “The promises of the Hebrew Scriptures are now for the Christians and not the Jews—but the curses are for the Jews.” The Emperor Constantine exhorted separation from the “despicable” Jews. Jerome stooped to degrading terms, later borrowed by the Nazis and Muslims. Augustine’s sermon “Against the Jews” deeply impacted Martin Luther, who advocated setting fire to Jewish synagogues and schools, destroying Jewish homes and prayer books, forbidding rabbis to teach, and confiscating Jews’ cash and treasures. Despite his faith, Luther’s writings inspired the horrors of the Holocaust.

 

Over time, some denominations unabashedly began to subordinate the Bible to political views, as liberal mainstream seminaries taught false doctrines such as replacement and liberation theologies. In the latter, Jesus is seen as liberator of the poor and oppressed. In this worldview, Palestinian suicide bombers blow themselves up only because they’ve been oppressed and historically wronged—remove or restrain their Israeli oppressors and they’ll live in peace—despite being brainwashed from cradle to grave to hate and kill Israelis and other “infidels.” From bitter roots grow poisonous trees.

 

Last year, the Presbyterian Church USA called for BDS based on Israel’s “human rights abuses” and “militarized violence” against Palestinians, without condemning Palestinian terrorism. For these leaders, BDS is justified due to Israel’s alleged violation of Palestinian human rights. Yet they fail to address the PA or Hamas’s violation of human rights of their own people, or Israel’s legitimate need for self-defense. In 2016, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on the United State to end aid to Israel and “enable an independent Palestinian state.” It also adopted a resolution calling for divestment from Israel, so as not to “profit from human rights abuses.” ELCA group Isaiah 58 promotes a book recommending Islamic sharia law as the remedy for Israeli “occupation.”

 

Though liberal seminaries are seedbeds for anti-Semitism, most evangelical Christians study the Bible free of political interference. After all, Christian support for Israel is Biblical, not political. Evangelicals are the largest consistently pro-Israel block in the United States. A Pew Research Center poll found that 82 percent of white evangelicals believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people, compared to less than half as many Jewish or Catholic Americans. The true face of Christendom is the tens of millions of evangelicals who demonstrate their love for Israel with no hidden agendas, believe G-d gave Israel to the Jewish people, respect and obey the Bible as the ultimate written authority, and know that G-d always keeps His promises. How can any true Christian love Christ but not love His family and His land?

                                                                           

Contents

 

CHRISTIAN REALISM AND CHRISTIAN ZIONISM

Paul Merkley

Bayview Review, Jan. 24, 2017

 

Back in the  early 1940s, when the World Zionist Organization as was seeking credible Christian support for the cause of creating a Jewish State, they settled upon Reinhold Niebuhr, the principal spokesman for the Christian Council for Palestine, and later for the American Christian Palestine Committee.

 

There was great advantage for the Zionist cause in the fact that, in a time when theology still played a modest (although clearly failing) part in academic discussion, Niebuhr was the only American theologian who was widely read throughout the English-speaking world. He commanded a large audience not only of Christians but also of secular intellectuals. Niebuhr was the acknowledged leading light of Christian Realism- the movement that emerged slowly and painfully out of resistance to the appeasement which took hold of all the journals of Christian opinion in the late 1930s. By 1945, he was widely recognized, inside church ranks and even more outside church ranks, as an exceptionally realistic commentator on world affairs.

 

Niebuhr’s prominence in the Christian pro-Zionist camp does not mark him as a Christian Zionist however. A Christian Zionist is one who believes that his support of the people of Israel in their ongoing struggles traces follows from a claim put upon himself by Biblical prophecy. To Niebuhr, the notion of predictive prophecy was all superstition, and accordingly he had no patience for the idea that working for the Restoration of the Jews was a task commanded by Scripture. This attitude was consistent with his theology: when it came to matters of the Creed, in typically liberal fashion, he swept away the miracles, the raising from the dead, and the life everlasting. He shared this mindset with all but perhaps one or two of the leaders of the Christian Council for Palestine and American Christian Palestine Committee.

 

There were two strings to the Liberal-Christian Pro-Zionist Christian argument for Partition of the Mandate and support for the State of Israel. The first string was that it was a requirement of justice in light of the perilous state in which the Hitler war had left the Jewish people. Appearing before the body which the UN had appointed to consider the case for Partition, Niebuhr said “The Jews have a right to a homeland.  They are a nation, scattered among the nations of the world.  They have no place where they are not exposed to the perils of minority status.” As for the complaint that this solution would work some injustice for the Arabs of the region, Niebuhr said:  “The Arabs have a vast hinterland in the Middle East, and the fact that the Jews have nowhere to go, establishes the relative justice of their claims and their cause…. Arab sovereignty over a portion of a debated territory must undoubtedly be sacrificed for the sake of establishing a world homeland for the Jews.”

 

The second string to the Liberal argument was that the Jewish people would establish in the Middle East a bridgehead for the values of European civilization, beginning a process of rolling back what Niebuhr described as the “feudal realities” left by centuries of Islam. This second argument does not resonate favorably in liberal circles today. The moment of Israel’s creation, however, belongs to the hour when Western intellectuals were reviewing the strengths of our Christian civilization in the light of the recent escape from Nazism and the prospect of a long struggle against the Soviet Communist Empire.

 

Before another generation had gone by, academics and elites of opinion had got themselves persuaded that the first duty of the inquiring mind is to despise what one belongs to: it was becoming impossible in academic circles to say a kind word for “civilization” and downright heresy to say a kind word for the Christian legacy. At the end of this process, the intellectual consensus was that the democratic State of Israel was an engine of imperialism, the oppressor of Third World peoples, the proxy of the bloody Crusaders.

 

Reinhold Niebuhr stood out among his generation of Christian intellectuals because he was such a discriminating critic of the thoughtless generalities that were current among his Christian academic contemporaries. Since the bottom line to these generalities was reckoned as “liberalism,” a new word had to be invented to catch what distinguished him from the others. The word “Neo-Orthodox” was recruited. This word is quite misleading, however. Niebuhr’s own theology was far from orthodox. He recited the Apostles Creed every Sunday along with everyone else, but in private conversation he confessed that he had no commitment to the reality of the Deity of Jesus or the Resurrection from the dead. With reference to our interests here: he refused to acknowledge any predictive character in any part of the Bible – including the Major and Minor Prophets. Thus, Niebuhr refused to credit any argument made in favour of the Zionist cause that was built upon confidence in the predictive capacity of Scripture.

 

During the years leading to the Partition Debate, Niebuhr did everything he could to avoid being associated with people who called themselves Christian Zionists. The arguments that he made in those days in support of the Partition and the creation of the State were both idealistic and realistic – never theological. At the same time, however, Niebuhr never lost his commitment to defense of Israel, and partly for that reason became alienated from the main body of liberal Christians who shifted to the anti-Israel camp in the wake of the 1967 War and who effectively eased him out of the pages of the liberal Christian journals of opinion – including the journal which he himself had founded, Christianity and Crisis.

 

Never in WCC documents today do we find the least hint that Israel came into existence in response to the decision of the world’s parliament, taken on November 29, 1947, and that, therefore, the dilemma of the other side follows from its steadfast and illegal rejection of the legitimacy of this decision. Ecumenical Christian organizations became steadily less enthusiastic about “legitimacy” and increasingly infatuated throughout the 1960s with “Liberation theology.”  Today, WCC documents ring with denunciations of “colonialism,” “cultural imperialism” and “oppression.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

Canada Heading Towards Blasphemy Law: Raheel Raza, Clarion Project, Feb. 13, 2017—On December 5, 2016, Canadian MP Iqra Khalid proposed a bill against Islamophobia (Motion 103). She began her statement in parliament by saying, “Mr. Speaker, I am a young, brown, Muslim, Canadian woman …”

‘Filming the Camps: From Hollywood to Nuremberg’ Review: Documenting Atrocities: Mark Yost, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 15, 2017 — To most people, the evidence—detailed Nazi records, the crematoriums and barracks, personal testaments, and film of the Allied liberation of the death camps—is overwhelming enough to silence any Holocaust denier.

The West's Real Bigotry: Rejecting Persecuted Christians: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Feb. 5, 2017—Finally, after years of apathy and inaction, Washington is extending a much-needed helping hand to Middle Eastern Christians. U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced that persecuted Christians will be given priority when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States.

United Church of Christ Indoctrinates Children to Hate: Abraham Cooper and Dexter van Zile, Huffington Post, Dec. 15, 2017—Until relatively recently it was estimated that some 300,000 child soldiers have served various masters, mostly in Africa and Asia. While the number has decreased, the exploitation of children in the name of a cause continues apace. Offenders rely on indoctrination, as well as direct recruitment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHILE TRUMP’S WIN WILL IMPROVE U.S.-ISRAEL RELATIONS, POST-CLINTON DEM’S TURN FURTHER AGAINST JEWISH STATE

 

Canadian Institute for Jewish Research & Beth Radom Congregation Present: “Christian Genocide in the Middle East: Why is the World Silent?” Academic conference moderated by Prof. Frederick Krantz (Concordia U.; CIJR Director). Featuring: Prof. Paul Merkley (Prof. emeritus, Carleton U.), Donna Holbrook (National Executive Director, ICEJ Canada), Christine Williams (award-winning journalist, author and Public Affairs & Media Consultant, ICEJ Canada), Lieutenant Colonel Sargis Sangari (Chief Executive Officer, Near East Center for Strategic Engagement LLC).

 

Free Admission. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2016. 1-4PM

Location: Beth Radom,18 Reiner Road, North York, ON, M3H 2K9

 

Israel and the 10 Commandments of a Trump Presidency: Yoram Ettinger, Algemeiner, Nov. 16, 2016— The outcome of the November 8, 2016, US election was predicted by those who doubted the accuracy of the polling samples.

Hillary’s Loss Accelerates the Democrats’ Turn Against Israel: Seth Mandel, New York Post, Nov. 14, 2016— Israel’s supporters were hoping Hillary Clinton could forestall the Democratic Party’s seemingly inevitable turn against the Jewish state.

Can Iraq’s Christians Finally Go Home?: Mindy Belz, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 27, 2016  — Noura Diyha wrestled a phone from her pocket to show me a photo of herself at age 3.

Yaffa Eliach, Historian Who Captured Faces of the Holocaust, Dies at 79: Joseph Berger, New York Times, Nov. 9, 2016—Yaffa Eliach, who as a 4-year-old survived the Nazi massacres of Jews in her Lithuanian town, and went on to document their daily life in a kaleidoscopic book and a haunting, three-story canyon of photographs at

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2016

In Post-Arab Spring Egypt, Muslim Attacks on Christians are Rising: Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2016

Mideast Christians Facing Islamic State Genocide Hopeful Trump Will ‘Secure Peace’: Edwin Mora, Breitbart, Nov. 15, 2016

Turkey Targets Oldest Syriac Orthodox Monastery: Robert Jones, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2016

 

 

ISRAEL AND THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF A TRUMP PRESIDENCY

Yoram Ettinger                                                              

Algemeiner, Nov. 16, 2016

 

The outcome of the November 8, 2016, US election was predicted by those who doubted the accuracy of the polling samples. In fact, it is doubtful that credible samples can be currently formulated, due to the fluctuating ground of the social, economic, political, demographic and ethnic environment in the 435 congressional districts, the 50 states and the many county lines in the US.

 

The outcome of the November races for the White House, 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, 12 governorships and all state legislatures spotlights the reasserted profile of the flyover areas of relatively small-town-America, the blue-collar and six-pack-Joe and lunch-pail-Mable America (“Reagan Democrats”), the moderate “Blue Dog” and conservative America, the national and homeland security hawks and the evangelical constituency, which was not significantly registered in prior election cycles.

 

The November 8, 2016 election was a victory of the anti-establishment and politically incorrect folks over the politically correct media, academia, political, business and foreign policy establishments. The term “alt-right,” which nobody had heard of until the unexpected emergence and rise of Donald Trump in the US…

 

What impact will the Trump victory have on US-Israel relations? Just like all Western democracies and other allies of the US, Israel is mostly concerned with the US posture of deterrence, which has played a critical role in restraining global radicalism and reassuring free societies. However, the US power-projection has been significantly eroded during the Obama administration, generating tailwinds for rogue regimes and headwinds for America’s allies, as has been strikingly demonstrated in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at large. It has fueled global turbulence, instability and Islamic terrorism, which is asserting itself in Europe and increasingly on the US mainland.

 

The Trump presidency is expected to reboot the US posture of deterrence by reversing the recent draconian cuts in the US defense budget and the size of the US armed forces – in the face of intensifying clear and present terrorism, conventional and nuclear threats to the US and its allies — and to replenish the rapidly depleted and aging US military stockpiles; compensate for the declining purchase power of the US dollar; restore the size of the armed forces, and reassess the July 2015 agreement with Iran. The latter has caused all pro-US Arab countries to downgrade their confidence in the US posture of deterrence and seek closer ties with Russia.

 

The track record of President-elect Trump, Vice President-elect Pence, and their foreign policy and national security advisers, suggest that US-Israel relations are expected to experience less tension and substantial enhancement, driven by the 400-year-old foundation of Judeo-Christian values of liberty and justice, as well as long and short-term mutual interests and threats, Israel’s unique and increasing contributions to the US commercial and defense industries and to scientific, technological, irrigation, agricultural, space and military US concerns.

 

President and Vice President-elect Trump and Pence, and most of their advisers on US-Israel relations and foreign policy, are prone to adhere to the following “10 commandments:” 1. Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel is a derivative of a unique historical right – which was enshrined by the early pilgrims and the US Founding Fathers — rather than a compensation for the Holocaust; 2. Israel is a most effective, unconditional geo-strategic ally of the US, willing to flex its muscles, extending the strategic hand of the US, while employing its own – not American — soldiers, performing within the framework of a two-way-street, mutually beneficial, win-win US-Israel relationship;

 

3. The scope of US geo-strategic interests, and therefore US-Israel relations, dramatically transcends the Palestinian issue; 4. Irrespective of the Arab talk — but based on the Arab walk — the Palestinian issue is not a core cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a centerpiece of Arab policy-making, nor a trigger of anti-US Islamic terrorism, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict;

 

5. Based on the intra-Arab Palestinian track record (stabbing the backs of their Arab hosts), the relationships between the Palestinian Authority and anti-US regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US incitement on the Palestinian street, Palestinian hate-education, and the strategic implications of the raging anti-US Arab tsunami, a Palestinian state would be a strategic liability, undermining regional stability and vital US interests in the Middle East;

 

6. The Trump team’s order of priorities will minimize the US involvement in the mediation/negotiation process of the Palestinian issue. The Trump team is aware that the US has introduced numerous Israel-Arab peace initiatives, none of which succeeded. The only two successful peace initiatives, Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan, were initiated – and directly negotiated — by the parties involved. The US involvement has always radicalized Arab expectations by further pressure on Israel, thus radicalizing Arab positions, which undermines the prospects of peace.

 

7. The Trump/Pence state of mind does not consider Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace nor a violation of international law. 8. The Trump/Pence team recognizes that the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria are critically required for Israel’s existence, as demonstrated by a map submitted to President Johnson by former chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff, General Earl Wheeler: “The minimum requirements for Israel’s defense include most of the West Bank.”

9. The Trump/Pence team is aware that Jerusalem is the ancient capital of the Jewish state – not an international city — and therefore should be the site of the US Embassy in Israel. The refusal to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem has undermined the US posture of deterrence, and has strayed from the legacy of the US Founding Fathers, who considered Jerusalem a cornerstone of their moral and cultural worldview, as reflected by the 18 Jerusalems and 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) on the US map.

 

10. Trump’s anti-establishment worldview is also targeting the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, including its 1948 recommendation not to recognize the establishment of Israel, and its current insistence that Jerusalem is an international city. Therefore Foggy Bottom will not lead — but follow — the Middle East policy of the Trump administration, which will not subordinate the US unilateral action to multilateralism and the UN…                                                         

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                       

 

Contents                                                                                                                                                                      

HILLARY’S LOSS ACCELERATES                                                                          

THE DEMOCRATS’ TURN AGAINST ISRAEL                                                                                        

Seth Mandel                                                                                                          

New York Post, Nov. 14, 2016

 

Israel’s supporters were hoping Hillary Clinton could forestall the Democratic Party’s seemingly inevitable turn against the Jewish state. Clinton’s loss last week means we’re officially après Hillary — and must prepare for the flood. This could be the last US presidential election that Israelis don’t have to watch with existential dread.

 

At least, the first signs of a post-Clinton Democratic Party aren’t good. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a fiery critic of Israel, is the front-runner to be the next Democratic National Committee chairman. As Scott Johnson detailed in The Weekly Standard when Ellison was on the verge of winning his House seat in 2006, before his congressional career Ellison had worked with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and even defended Farrakhan against accusations of anti-Semitism.

 

Ellison has left Farrakhan far behind, but his Israel criticism remains scathing. As the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported, Ellison “has organized letters urging pressure on Israel, and was an advocate of drawing lessons from the UN Goldstone Report following the 2009 Gaza War.” Even Richard Goldstone, the author of the infamously anti-Israel report, wound up essentially disowning it.

 

On a trip to Israel last summer, Ellison posted a photo of a sign in Hebron declaring Israel to be an apartheid state and land thief. He has also called for Israel to end the blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip — despite the fact that Gaza-based terrorists have launched over 11,000 rocket attacks on Israeli civilians since Israel withdrew from the strip in 2005. Amid the 2014 war to stop those attacks, Israel discovered that Hamas had built a vast system of underground tunnels from Gaza to Israel in preparation for mass terror attacks.

 

Yet Ellison is far from a lone voice among Democrats; indeed, he’s co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In his quest for the party chairmanship, Ellison has the backing of soon-to-be Democratic Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer — who prides himself on his pro-Israel bona fides and is now using his credibility on the issue to elevate Ellison. (Retiring Sen. Harry Reid offered his own endorsement over the weekend.) Schumer might just be bowing to the new reality. According to the Pew Research Center, Democrats sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians by a 43-29 margin — but that’s far closer than just a few years ago.

 

And among liberal Democrats, it flips: Liberals prefer the Palestinians by a 40-33 margin. We saw this play out over the summer, as Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Sanders had massive support among young liberals, who are increasingly hostile to Israel. Hillary won the nomination, but the message was clear: The future of the Democratic Party clearly belongs to those backing Sanders.

 

Diving into the numbers only paints a bleaker picture. In their book “Our Separate Ways: The Struggle for the Future of the US-Israel Alliance,” Dana Allin and Steven Simon (the latter a former Mideast adviser to President Obama) argue demographics will pull the two countries apart. Hispanics, who accounted for more than 50 percent of US population growth between 2000 and 2014, according to Pew, vote overwhelmingly Democratic, as do African-Americans. Allin and Simon predict that minorities will see more in common with the Palestinians than with Israel (the daft comparisons between Jim Crow and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians get ever more common), and Democratic priorities will reflect that. “And,” the authors write, touching on what really worries the pro-Israel community, “it will inflame the left-right divide in America.”

 

Democrats are in the minority now, but won’t be forever, and will obviously field a presidential candidate in 2020. What happens then? “In the absence of active demonization by” Obama, says one official at a pro-Israel organization, “I think we’re still a cycle or two away from Democrats turning on Israel” full force. But, he notes, the future isn’t bright — and “progressives are lost, of course.” Israeli officials are used to being able to count on bipartisan support in Congress, and they didn’t seem too worried no matter which way the US presidential election went this year. It might be the last time they have that luxury.            

 

Contents           

             

CAN IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS FINALLY GO HOME?                                                                                      

Mindy Belz                                                                                      

Wall Street Journal, Oct. 27, 2016

 

Noura Diyha wrestled a phone from her pocket to show me a photo of herself at age 3. She’s wearing a bonnet and riding a tricycle on a grass lawn. Some 14 years later, Noura is one of nearly 1 million internally displaced people in Iraqi Kurdistan. Her family fled from the mostly Christian village of Batnaya in August 2014, when Islamic State militants captured territory throughout northern Iraq. She now lives in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. As coalition forces—Iraqi government forces, allied militias and Kurdish soldiers, backed by U.S. air and on-the-ground support—advance toward Mosul and retake villages like Batnaya, Noura’s family hopes to return home soon. Yet even success on the battlefield won’t guarantee a safe return for exiled Christians and other religious minorities.

 

ISIS fighters dug in at Noura’s town and came under heavy fire on Oct. 20. They used rocket launchers and suicide bombers against coalition ground troops, but the village was retaken earlier this week. Coalition forces, aided by U.S. airstrikes and mortar rounds, covered significant ground and retook dozens of other villages controlled by ISIS. Nearing Mosul’s city limits, the armies face intense resistance. For Noura and thousands of others, these are days of waiting, only now with the possibility of returning home. “A military defeat of Daesh [ISIS] is only the first step,” says Father Emanuel Youkhana, an Assyrian priest who heads an Iraqi relief organization. “We must deal with root causes that allowed Daesh to arise and take this territory, in order to permit all Iraqi people to return home.”

 

Turkey, a NATO member, now stands in the way of the Christians’ return. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inserted thousands of Turkish forces into Nineveh months ago, and he insists they participate in the fight against ISIS. Mr. Erdogan told an Arab news channel this month, “only Sunni Arabs, Turkomens, and Sunni Kurds” should remain in the Mosul region once it is liberated. Under martial law in his own country, Mr. Erdogan has closed churches and detained Christian clergy.

 

Father Youkhana and others fear Turkey seeks to re-establish its own empire out of the crumbling ISIS caliphate, one similar to the Ottoman empire—the same government that killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians in genocides a century ago. Iraq opposes Mr. Erdogan’s overtures. “The Turkish insistence on its presence inside Iraqi territories has no justification,” said Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at a recent press conference in Baghdad. Iraq’s Parliament called the Turkish troops “hostile occupying forces.”

 

Yet the Obama administration is pressuring Baghdad to accept a role for Turkey. Given the strength of Turkish influence, and Christians’ lack of political clout, this is likely to finish the Christians’ right to return. This despite the fact that Christians have lived in this part of the world since the first century. I’ve walked through church ruins in Nineveh that archaeologists estimate were constructed in the second or third century. “I believe we stand at a crossroads for the future of Christianity—and pluralism—in the Middle East,” said Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus at an event this month in New York City. “Either Christianity will survive and offer a witness of forgiveness, charity and mercy, or it will disappear, impoverishing the region religiously, ethnically and culturally.”

 

Mr. Anderson’s organization compiled a 300-page report at the request of the State Department documenting ISIS genocide of Christians in Iraq. Besides the toxic level of displacement, the report contains graphic detail confirming that at least 1,100 Christians have been murdered by Islamic militants in Iraq since 2003, though the number is almost certainly higher now. Yet U.S. officials seem to be ignoring these findings, even though the report pushed Washington to legally declare ISIS’s actions a “genocide.”

 

Exile is at the heart of the Christian message. The Old Testament Jews wandered in the wilderness and the savior Jesus Christ “had no place to lay his head.” His apostle Paul wrote four of his New Testament epistles from prison. The Christians in Iraq know this is their story, too. Yet being vanquished forever from this heartland is a terrible fate to contemplate…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]     Contents           

             

YAFFA ELIACH, HISTORIAN WHO CAPTURED FACES

OF THE HOLOCAUST, DIES AT 79                                                                           Joseph Berger                                                                           New York Times, Nov. 12, 2016

 

Yaffa Eliach, who as a 4-year-old survived the Nazi massacres of Jews in her Lithuanian town, and went on to document their daily life in a kaleidoscopic book and a haunting, three-story canyon of photographs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, died on Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 79. Her death, after a long illness, was confirmed by Thea Wieseltier, a family friend.

 

After a childhood that might have throttled a person of lesser spine, Professor Eliach (pronounced EL-ee-akh) dedicated herself to the study and memorialization of the Holocaust and its victims. Starting in 1969, she did so as a professor of history and literature in the department of Judaic studies at Brooklyn College, and by founding the pioneering Center for Holocaust Studies at the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn. Though modest in scale, its collection of taped interviews, diaries, letters, photographs and artifacts became a model for dozens of such centers. Her mission, she said many times, was to document the victims’ lives, not just their deaths, to give them back their grace and humanity. She determined to do so as a member of President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on the Holocaust during a visit to the death camps, where she realized that the victims were portrayed only as bulging-eyed skeletons in ragged striped uniforms, not as the vital people they once were.

 

Professor Eliach decided to recreate the shtetl she had known in Lithuania — Eisiskes, known in Yiddish as Eishyshok — where 3,500 Jews, almost the entire Jewish population, were killed, by collecting photographs of its inhabitants. Starting with a nucleus of family photos she and her older brother had squirreled away in hiding, she spent 15 years traveling to all 50 states and many countries searching for photographs, diaries and letters of other shtetl residents. In Israel, she knocked on 42 doors of an apartment building to track down one family and unearthed a cache of material buried in cans under a palm tree. In Australia, she told a radio station that she was searching for a family known as “the Mice” and was fortunate to get a tip from a caller. She hired security guards to help her gather materials in a former synagogue in a rough section of Detroit. And in several cases she resorted to a kind of bribery — medication, a color TV, four jogging suits — to persuade families to part with precious photographs temporarily so that she could reproduce them. She spent more than $600,000 of her own money and loans, then supported the project with a Guggenheim fellowship.

 

Professor Eliach ultimately collected 6,000 photographs of townspeople posing at bar mitzvahs, graduations and weddings, and in family groups — accounting for 92 percent of the village’s slaughtered Jews. Some 1,500 were selected for the Holocaust museum’s “Tower of Faces,” sometimes called a “Tower of Life,” where photographs are arranged in a narrow, soaring chasm that visitors walk through. The faces render the lives of so many ordinary Jews intimate and vibrant. By 2016, 40 million people had visited the museum since its opening in 1993. Professor Eliach assembled hundreds of the photographs and oral histories into an 818-page book, “There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok,” published by Little, Brown & Company in 1998. It was a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Award and joined her earlier book, “Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust,” as among her major contributions.

 

Menachem Z. Rosensaft, a leader in organizations of survivors’ children, said that Professor Eliach had made the Holocaust a subject both “accessible and kosher” for Orthodox Jews after years in which it had “presented far too many theological problems,” like how God could allow such things to happen.

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic Links

 

Obama Lobbies Against Obliteration by Trump: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Nov. 12, 2016 —You know how desperate President Obama is — as he contemplates all his accomplishments going down the drain at the hands of a man he has total contempt for — when he is willing to do something so against his nature.

In Post-Arab Spring Egypt, Muslim Attacks on Christians are Rising: Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2016 — The Christian and Muslim villagers grew up together, played on the same soccer fields as kids, and attended the same schools in this riverside hamlet.

the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, died on Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 79.

Mideast Christians Facing Islamic State Genocide Hopeful Trump Will ‘Secure Peace’: Edwin Mora, Breitbart, Nov. 15, 2016—Leaders from the minority Christian community in the Middle East have commended President-elect Donald Trump on his victory last week, saying they are hopeful the new American leader will strengthen and support the ethno-religious minority groups in Iraq and Syria victimized by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Turkey Targets Oldest Syriac Orthodox Monastery: Robert Jones, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 16, 2016—The European Commission has recently issued its 2016 Turkey Progress Report, which contains serious criticism of the country's increasingly grave human rights record.

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL AS HAVEN FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN MIDDLE EAST

Assyrian Bishop Wants Friendship With Israel: Bradley Martin, Algemeiner, June 21, 2016— “Israel has stability, the ear of the world community, and the ability to be a modern state in the Middle East. Israel has withstood the test of time,” says Mar Awa Royel, the first American-born Assyrian bishop in history.

The Assyrians’ plight has been overshadowed by the suffering of the Yazidis. But they are very much in danger: Terry Glavin, National Post, June 9, 2016 — They are the original people of Mesopotamia’s cradle of civilization, the indigenous people of ancient Sumer and Babylon, and they’ve been around for at least 5,000 years. From their heartland on the Nineveh Plains and the Upper Tigris in what is now the transboundary region of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, their empires waxed and waned down through the centuries from the Caucasus Mountains to Cyprus and Egypt and deep into the Arabian Peninsula.

Autonomous Assyria: The Only Possible Solution to the Arab World’s Terminal Disorder: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Apr. 27, 2016— Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim. For perhaps a decade or two following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, all of the people who accepted the Christian message were Jews – most of them living in Jerusalem. But then missions, headed originally by surviving apostles, went out beyond Judea and Samaria and sought converts among the many neighboring kingdoms that were, like the Jews of Judea,  subject to Roman rule.

Obama's Refugee Policy: Yes to Potential Terrorists, No to Victims of Genocide: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 5, 2016— "Without doubt, Syrians of all confessions are being victimized by this savage war and are facing unimaginable suffering. But only Christians and other religious minorities are the deliberate targets of systematic persecution and genocide." — U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, March 17, 2016.

 

On Topic Links

 

The Orlando Shooting Launches a War on Christianity: David French, National Review, June 15, 2016

Arabs Using Christians to Fight Israel: Shadi Khalloul, Gatestone Institute, May 29, 2016

The Pope Who Gained the World, But Lost His Own Soul: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, June 6, 2016

Christian Zionists Are Among Our Best Supporters: Pini Dunner, Algemeiner, June 17, 2016

 

 

ASSYRIAN BISHOP WANTS FRIENDSHIP WITH ISRAEL

Bradley Martin

Algemeiner, June 21, 2016

 

“Israel has stability, the ear of the world community, and the ability to be a modern state in the Middle East. Israel has withstood the test of time,” says Mar Awa Royel, the first American-born Assyrian bishop in history. Born David Royel in Chicago, Illinois on July 4, 1975, His Grace Mar Awa, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, who presides over the Diocese of California, conveys his desire for friendship between Israel and the Assyrian people.

Noting that “we’ve had a long history,” he cites prophecy in the Book of Isaiah in order to provide a biblical foundation for his desired brotherhood with Israel, and describes several church-organized pilgrimages that he has led to Israel.

 

While there are very few Assyrian Christians in Israel, until 1853 the Assyrian Church of the East shared a part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Numerous records and Assyrian manuscripts are now in the possession of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Israel.

 

Bishop Royel also described the relations and commonalities between Jews and Assyrian Christians in Iraq prior to the establishment of the state of Israel. Even after the Arab Muslim conquest of the Middle East, which installed Arabic as the lingua franca of the region, Assyrians continued to speak Assyrian.

 

The Nash Didan (Aramaic for “our people”) refers to Jews who lived in villages in northern Iraq (modern-day Kurdish Regional Government) and near the borders of Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. Tradition indicates that the community was founded by Jews who fled to that area during the Babylonian Exile, and did not return to their homeland after the declaration issued by Cyrus II of Persia. Assyrian and the Nash Didan dialect are very close. It is currently estimated that about 300,000 of the Nash Didan live in the state of Israel.

 

“We are the most Semitic of the churches,” says Bishop Royel. Jews and Assyrians in the region were bound by more than a common linguistic heritage. Royel describes the Targumim (the Aramaic translations/paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible and accompanying rabbinic teachings) as an influential text in Church doctrine. In fact, the Targumim are the antecedents of the version of the Old (and New) Testament of the Assyrian Church of the East. Queen Helena of Adiabene, an Assyrian who converted to Judaism in about 30 C.E., spent the latter part of her life in Jerusalem, where she gave gifts to the Second Temple of Jerusalem and was meticulous in her observance of the precepts of Judaism.

 

Assyrian churches themselves are a fusion of synagogue and Jerusalem Temple worship. “There are no examples like it in any churches that are found in North America,” says Royel. “Facing east, there is a Holy of Holies, and a bima in the middle of the church building where the Scriptural readings take place.” The Assyrian Church of the East also follows the Jewish practice of not pronouncing the holy name of God when the Bible is read in church. Readings from the Old Testament are also featured more prominently than in other church services.

 

The Assyrian Church at one time had an estimated 80 million adherents. As it now stands, their worldwide numbers have been reduced to a little less than 4 million people collectively. In Iraq, 1.5 million Assyrians lived in the country at the start of the US invasion in 2003. Today, the Assyrian Christians in Iraq number around 150,000. That is a 90 percent reduction of Assyrian Christians in their ancient homeland.

 

“Iraq does not view Assyrians as part of their society,” says Royel. “Maybe, it is time to reconsider Sykes-Picot. There is talk of establishing martial law in Iraq, like in Egypt, but that doesn’t seem practical. Egypt is more homogenous than Iraq.”

 

When asked what a modern state of Assyria would look like, Royel stated that he would like very much to see a free Assyrian homeland for his people to live in peace within its borders. Friendship between Israel and Assyria would be mutually beneficial, with both countries being strong allies. Whereas Israel would serve as a model for a successful Middle Eastern state for Assyria, Israel would gain a strong ally in an increasingly tumultuous region.

 

Bradley Martin is Deputy Editor at CIJR and a Fellow of the Haym Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought

 

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THE ASSYRIANS’ PLIGHT HAS BEEN OVERSHADOWED BY THE SUFFERING OF THE YAZIDIS, BUT THEY ARE VERY MUCH IN DANGER

Terry Glavin

National Post, June 9, 2016

 

They are the original people of Mesopotamia’s cradle of civilization, the indigenous people of ancient Sumer and Babylon, and they’ve been around for at least 5,000 years. From their heartland on the Nineveh Plains and the Upper Tigris in what is now the transboundary region of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, their empires waxed and waned down through the centuries from the Caucasus Mountains to Cyprus and Egypt and deep into the Arabian Peninsula.

 

The Assyrians were among the world’s first peoples to adopt Christianity, and they still speak varieties of Aramaic, the language of Christ and his apostles. They survived a series of genocidal anti-Christian frenzies during the Ottoman Empire’s final convulsions a century ago, and again in the 1930s. They survived the persecutions and ethnic cleansings waged against them by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and the Iranian Khomeinists. But their survival now, as a distinct people, looks bleak.

 

There were perhaps 1.5 million Assyrians holding out in the region at the close of the 20th century. Two years ago, Minority Rights Group International reckoned their numbers in Iraq had dwindled to maybe 350,000 There are probably fewer — estimates are wildly conflicting — in Syria.

 

With Syria’s continuing destruction, mainly at the hands of President Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies, and with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) carrying out its bloody jihad in Iraq from Mosul to Fallujah and the outskirts of Baghdad, the Assyrians are again wandering the roads of the Middle East. They’re huddled in makeshift displaced-persons camps or fleeing as United Nations’ refugees to the four corners of the earth.

 

But they are not without hope. The cause of an Assyrian homeland has gained a great deal of traction lately: not an independent country, but a separate province, in a federated and decentralized Iraq. “An autonomous region. A safe haven. That’s what the people want — a homeland. We want to be able to protect ourselves,” Juliana Taimoorazy, founding president of the Chicago-based Iraqi Christian Relief Council, told me the other day. The idea is not as implausible as it sounds.

 

The Assyrian predicament has been overshadowed by the suffering of the Yazidis, a similarly ancient non-Muslim minority in the region. Targeted for genocide and enslavement by ISIL in the autumn months of 2014, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee an ISIL advance in the Yazidis’ homeland in Iraqi Kurdistan.

 

The encirclement of hundreds of unarmed Yazidis on Mount Sinjar captured the world’s attention and finally shamed the NATO countries into mounting an air-power campaign to curb ISIL’s depredations — a coalition effort that first involved a half-dozen Canadian CF-18s and now includes the Canadian Special Operations Regiment in a “train, advise and assist” mission, mostly with the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga.

The Western support won by the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, and the KRG’s tentative allies among the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) guerrillas of Rojava in northern Syria, has been a mixed blessing for the Assyrians. The secularist KRG goes out of its way to insist that it embraces the Assyrian minority, but Assyrians are wary and mistrustful. Iraqi Kurds have turned on them before, and as recently as 2011 anti-Assyrian riots broke out in the predominantly Kurdish city of Duhok, incited by a Kurdish political party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. “At any moment, some mullah can declare a fatwa against us,” Taimooorazy said.

 

With Syria and Iraq having degenerated into hellholes of jihadism, mass murder and unceasing sectarian war, the Assyrians’ allegiances of convenience have sometimes left outsiders perplexed about whose “side” they’re on.

 

The Assyrians sided with the Kurds against Saddam Hussein from the 1980s to the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. “We hoped the Americans would help us regain our land, the way the Zionists did,” Taimoorazy said, “but that didn’t happen.” As a result, a lot of Assyrians cooled to the Americans. At the same time, while Israel is seen as a pariah in much of the Arab world, many Assyrians see Israel as a “model,” Taimoorazy said.

 

In Syria, meanwhile, Assyrian church leaders and their flocks tended to oppose the uprising against Assad for fear of what might follow and doubts about the NATO countries’ willingness to intervene to protect them against jihadists. But other Assyrians have formed militias in alliance with Kurdish and Arab guerillas to fight both ISIL and Assad’s regular troops. Still, the crux of the Assyrian dilemma in the region’s turmoils is fairly straightforward, Taimoorazy said: “We don’t trust the Arabs, and we don’t trust the Kurds.”

 

He insisted that Assyrians are not demanding an independent state. “We don’t want Iraq to fall apart. We want Iraq to stay together.”

An Assyrian province in a more decentralized Iraq would be an uphill battle because it would have to come at least partly at the expense of the KRG, in areas it now controls. But it would also offer a refuge to Yazidis and minority Turkomans and Shabaks. But then again, there are now-powerful Sunni Arabs in Iraq who are also contemplating a constitutional breakout from Baghdad’s control.

 

Owing to the Shiite-dominated government giving every appearance of being hopelessly mired in brutal sectarianism and runaway corruption — and not least because of the growing influence of Iran’s Khomeinists in semi-official militias as vicious as ISIL, as well as in Iraq’s official security apparatus — a move is underway to establish a semi-autonomous Sunni region in Iraq. About a third of Iraqis are Sunni.

 

“But the Assyrians are not just a religious group,” Taimoorazy said. “We are an ethnic minority, and we are losing our language and our culture. The world has to begin to see the Assyrian people not just as Christians, but as a distinct people. And we are being wiped out.”

 

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AUTONOMOUS ASSYRIA: THE ONLY POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO THE ARAB WORLD’S TERMINAL DISORDER

Paul Merkley

Bayview Review, April 27, 2016

 

Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim. For perhaps a decade or two following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, all of the people who accepted the Christian message were Jews – most of them living in Jerusalem. But then missions, headed originally by surviving apostles, went out beyond Judea and Samaria and sought converts among the many neighboring kingdoms that were, like the Jews of Judea,  subject to Roman rule. Among the first of these Kingdoms to accept Christian faith as its national faith was Armenia — a prosperous Kingdom in part of what is today Turkey. Shortly thereafter, various Kingdoms in Egypt,  Abyssinia (Ethiopia), North Africa and Arabia also entered the world of Christianity. Nearly six centuries later, Islam came into the world.

 

For perspective, we might note that several further centuries would again go by before the English language came into the world. And yet it is safe to say that most people who imagine themselves well-informed about history nod passively before the politically-correct fiction that Islam is indigenous to the Arab world, and that where there are churches anywhere in that world these were imposed during recent centuries by European missionaries working hand-in-hand with political imperialists.  It is Islam that was and is the imperialist in this story.

 

Within a few decades of the appearance of the Qur’an (630 AD), these Christians were faced with the terrible dilemma of either surrendering to fanatical illiterates everything that they believed — or converting, by simple vocal declaration. Ever since then, those brave souls who stayed with the faith have lived under the stigma of being subversive opponents of Truth, denied the benefit of full participation in the circles of those who govern and subject to punishing taxes from which the faithful are exempt. This is called the dhimmmi system, the system under which non-Muslims are allowed to exist but with restricted liberties, as less than citizens. This state of affairs continued legally until the last of the Muslim empires fell – that is the Ottoman Empire, which was dismantled about the end of the First World War.

 

At the same time, the Islamic warriors who founded their kingdoms beyond Arabia quickly became aware of certain benefits that they could gain by not bearing down too far on their Christian subjects, by not compelling their conversion. Compared to the Muslim warriors who were sweeping in from Arabia, indigenous Christian people throughout the Middle East and beyond had enjoyed high levels of literacy, education, professional accomplishment, economic success and extensive connections abroad. Accordingly, the Arab masters drew the Christians into eminent roles in the public life.

 

The political leaders in the Arab world have always had to tread a fine line as they sought to sustain these valued indigenous, non-Arab, non-Muslim communities, while fending off accusation from the Muslim majority that they are aggrandizing the enemies of Allah. In moments of extraordinary crisis in the public life of the Arab world, these political masters swiftly turned their backs on the Christians and surrendered them to the Muslim mobs.

 

I have space here only to note two major extirpation campaigns of this kind that have taken place since the year 1900.  One of these campaigns resulted in the absolute ejection from the Arab world of one of the most ancient Christian communities – the Armenians. The other, still ongoing, has so far  resulted in the savage reduction of numbers and of political and social significance of the Assyrians, who  existed until recently  in scattered communities in parts of Iraq and Syria, but who are being targeted for annihilation by the Islamist politicians who have come to power during the so-called Arab Spring. While this has happened, Western governments and Western news media have looked the other way.

 

Shortly after World War One began, the new nationalist-secularist leaders of what had been the Ottoman empire, found themselves courted by the masters of both camps in that War. Anticipating (reasonably enough) a great victory for the Central Powers, the Turks threw their lot on the wrong side – against the Allied Powers (including Britain, France and Russia.) Under cover of preventing massive Armenian betrayal of the national interest, the Turks conducted a popularly-supported extermination campaign against the Armenians — remembered as “the Armenian massacre” of 1915…

[To Read The Full Article, Click the Following Link–ED]

 

Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

 

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OBAMA’S REFUGEE POLICY: YES TO POTENTIAL TERRORISTS, NO TO VICTIMS OF GENOCIDE

Raymond Ibrahim

Gatestone Institute, June, 5, 2016

 

"Without doubt, Syrians of all confessions are being victimized by this savage war and are facing unimaginable suffering. But only Christians and other religious minorities are the deliberate targets of systematic persecution and genocide." — U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, March 17, 2016.

Christians account for 10% of Syria's total population — yet they account for less than 0.5% of the refugees received into America. Sunni Muslims are 74% of Syria's population — yet 99% of those received into America. In other words, there should be 20 times more Christians and about one-quarter fewer Sunnis granted refugee status than there already have been.

 

ISIS is "taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow." — James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. Although the U.N. and U.S. know that Sunni refugees are terrorizing Christians in their camps, they abandon the true victims who deserve sanctuary in the West, while "humanitarianly" taking in their persecutors. The Obama administration has been escalating a policy that both abandons Mideast Christians and exposes Americans to the jihad.

 

Late last year it was revealed that 97% of Syrian refugees accepted into the U.S. were Sunni Muslims — the same Islamic sect to which the Islamic State belongs— while fewer than half-a-percent were Christians. This disparity has since gotten worse. From May 1 to May 23, 499 Syrian refugees — a number that exceeds the total number of refugees admitted during the last three years — were received into the United States. Zero Christians were among them; 99 percent were Sunni (the remaining one percent was simply listed as "Muslim"). These numbers are troubling.

 

First, from a strictly humanitarian point of view — and humanitarian reasons are the chief reason being cited in accepting refugees — Christians should receive priority simply because currently they are among the most persecuted groups in the Middle East. Along with the Yazidis, Christians are experiencing genocide at the hands of ISIS, as the State Department recently determined. The Islamic State has repeatedly forced Christians to renounce Christ or die; has enslaved and raped them, and desecrated or destroyed more than 400 of their churches.

Sunni Muslims are not being slaughtered, beheaded, and raped for refusing to renounce their faith; they are not having their mosques burned, nor are they being jailed and killed for apostasy, blasphemy, or proselytization. On the contrary, non-ISIS affiliated Sunnis are responsible for committing dozens of such atrocities against Christian minorities every single month all throughout the Islamic world.

 

Even before ISIS' new "caliphate" was established, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims— Muslim mobs, Muslim individuals, Muslim regimes, and Muslim terrorists, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian, etc.) — and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one. See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hatred and contempt for Christians who are especially deserving of refugee status…

[To Read The Full Article, Click the Following Link–ED]

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

The Orlando Shooting Launches a War on Christianity: David French, National Review, June 15, 2016— We are now fully through the looking glass. A Muslim man walked into a gay nightclub and gunned down 49 men and women, most of them gay or lesbian. He paused in the middle of his massacre to call 911 and a local television station, making clear that he wanted the world to know he had pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Arabs Using Christians to Fight Israel: Shadi Khalloul, Gatestone Institute, May 29, 2016— Christians in Holy Land, Judea and Samaria — what today is called the West Bank or the Palestinian Authority (PA) — are, with the Jews and assorted Arabs, the indigenous people of the land. The region has been inhabited by Jews and then Christians for nearly three thousand years; until the seventh century, Muslims did not even exist.

The Pope Who Gained the World, But Lost His Own Soul: Raymond Ibrahim, Breaking Israel News, June 6, 2016— Last week I appeared on the Glazov Gang discussing Pope Francis’ increasingly strange remarks. This special edition of The Glazov Gang presents The Raymond Ibrahim Moment with Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Christian Zionists Are Among Our Best Supporters: Pini Dunner, Algemeiner, June 17, 2016— Shortly after moving to the United States, I was introduced to Evangelical Christian supporters of Israel for the first time. I found them confounding and intriguing.

M.E. CHRISTIANS, WHO PREDATE ISLAM, SUFFER ISLAMIST PERSECUTION & GENOCIDE

Inconvenient Genocide: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 12, 2016— Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.

The West Must Say "Je Suis Asia Bibi": Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, May 19, 2016 — The death sentence for Asia Bibi is like Chernobyl's nuclear cloud: it contaminates everything around it.

Autonomous Assyria: The Only Possible Solution to the Arab World’s Terminal Disorder: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Apr. 27, 2016— Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim.  

Mideast Teachers Reveal How Islam Erases Christianity from History: Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media, Apr. 21, 2016 — Christianity is being physically erased from the Middle East with scant worldwide attention.

 

On Topic Links

 

Fast-Growing Pentecostal Movement Enthusiastically Affirms Support for Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Apr. 13, 2016

Jihad on Christian Church Tents: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016

Pope Francis Defends Jihad, Says Christianity Has Similar Roots in Idea of Conquest: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, May 18, 2016

Germany: Christian Refugees Persecuted by Muslims: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016

 

INCONVENIENT GENOCIDE                                           

Caroline Glick                                                               

Breaking Israel News, Apr. 12, 2016

 

Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication. The Christian communities of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are well on the way to joining their Jewish cousins. The Jewish communities of these states predated Islam by a millennium, and were vibrant until the 20th century. But the Arab world’s war on the Jewish state, and more generally on Jews, wiped out the Jewish populations several decades ago. And now the Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.

 

The ongoing genocide of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Sunni jihadists is a moral outrage. Does it also affect Israeli national interests? What do we learn from the indifference of Western governments – led by the Obama administration – to their annihilation? True, after years of deliberately playing down the issue and denying the problem, the Obama administration is finally admitting it exists. Embarrassed by the US House of Representatives’ unanimous adoption of a resolution last month recognizing that Middle Eastern Christians are being targeted for genocide, the State Department finally acknowledged the obvious on March 25, when Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Islamic State is conducting a “genocide of Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ites.”

 

Kerry’s belated move, which State Department lawyers were quick to insist has no operational significance, raises two questions. First, what took the Obama administration so long? Persecution of Christians in Iraq began immediately after the US-led coalition brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003. With the rise of Islamic State in 2012, the process of destroying the Christian community went into high gear. And now these ancient communities are on the brink of extinction. In Iraq, Christians comprised 8 percent of the population in 2003. Today less than 1% of Iraqis are Christians. In Syria, the Christian community has lost between half and two-thirds of its members in the past five years.

 

One of the appalling aspects of ISIS’s deliberate, open targeting of Christians for destruction is how little resistance it has received from local Sunni populations. As Raymond Ibrahim from the David Horowitz Freedom Center has scrupulously documented, the local Sunnis have not stood up for their Christian neighbors, who have lived side-by-side with them for hundreds of years. Rather, in areas that have been conquered by ISIS, the local Sunnis have collaborated with their genocidal masters in raping and murdering Christian neighbors, plundering their property, destroying their churches, and driving them from their ancestral homes.

 

Although precise data is hard to come by, it is clear that thousands of Christians have been slaughtered. Thousands of Christian women and girls have been sold as sex slaves in ISIS slave markets, subjected to continuous, violent rape and beatings. Nuns and priests have been enslaved, crucified, mutilated, kidnapped and held for ransom, as have lay members of Christian communities. Christians have been burned alive.

 

For years, the administration said that the persecution doesn’t amount to genocide because according to ISIS’s propaganda, Christians are allowed to remain in their homes if they agree to live as dhimmis – that is, without any human rights, and subjected to confiscatory taxation. But as Nina Shea from the Hudson Institute has reported, these claims were shown to be false in Mosul, Nineveh and other places where ISIS has claimed that such practices were instituted.

 

The jihadist genocide of Christians isn’t limited to Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram – ISIS’s affiliate in Nigeria – is undertaking a systematic campaign to annihilate Christianity in Africa. ISIS’s affiliates in Sinai and Libya have similarly targeted Christians, staging mass beheadings and other monstrous acts. And of course, a region needn’t be under direct ISIS control for Christians to be targeted for destruction. The Easter massacre in Pakistan was further evidence that wherever radical Islamists gain power, they use it to murder Christians. And as Larry Franklin from the Gatestone Institute noted in a recent article, the exodus of Christians from the Palestinian Authority is the direct consequence of deliberate persecution of Christians by the PA.

 

Given the prevalence of Christian persecution, why is the West – which is overwhelmingly Christian – so reticent about mentioning it? And why are Western leaders loathe to do anything to stop it? There are two ways to end genocide. First, you can defeat those conducting it on the battlefield. If you destroy the forces conducting the genocide, then the genocide ends. The second way you can stop genocide is by evacuating the targeted population and providing its members with refuge.

 

After stipulating that ISIS is carrying out a genocide, Kerry made clear that the US will not defeat ISIS to end it. Instead, Kerry said, “We must bear in mind… that the best response to genocide is a reaffirmation of the fundamental right to survive of every group targeted for destruction. What Daesh [ISIS] wants to erase, we must preserve. That requires defeating Daesh, but it also requires the rejection of discrimination and bigotry.” Kerry then explained that the US’s plan is to cultivate the formation of a multicultural society in Syria. Given the brutal nature of the war, Kerry’s plan is tantamount to saying the US intends to defeat ISIS and rescue those it is currently exterminating by bringing unicorns and leprechauns to the slave markets of Raqqa. Substantively, Kerry’s plan is to deny Christians refuge, and to abandon them to the mercy of their murderers…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

Contents

THE WEST MUST SAY "JE SUIS ASIA BIBI"

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, May 19, 2016

 

The death sentence for Asia Bibi is like Chernobyl's nuclear cloud: it contaminates everything around it. After Asia's arrest, her husband, Masih, and her children went into hiding. They have moved house 15 times in five years. They could not even attend Asia's judicial hearings. It is too dangerous for them. Her husband was forced to quit his job. Asia's "crime" was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. She was sentenced to death because she is Christian and she was thirsty. "You defiled our water," the Muslim women told her. "Convert to Islam to redeem yourself from your filthy religion."

 

Asia took a deep breath and replied: "I will not convert. I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ. And why should I be the one to convert and not you?" On November 8, 2010, after just five minutes of deliberation, Asia Noreen Bibi, under Article 295 of the Pakistani Code, was sentenced to death by hanging. The crowd cheered the verdict. She was alone and burst into tears. Next to her there were two policemen, visibly satisfied. In the days after, 50,000 people in Karachi and 40,000 in Lahore took the streets to brandish an image of Asia Bibi with the rope around her neck. They say they will not rest until she is hanged or shot.

 

Pakistani Islamists recently gathered to demand the immediate execution of this woman, who has been jailed for 2,500 days. Fears for the life of Bibi — the first Christian woman sentenced to be hanged in Pakistan on spurious charges of "blasphemy" — have grown after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim reformer who paid with his life for expressing support for Asia Bibi. Lawyers defending people accused of blasphemy are sometimes murdered as well.

 

The late Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti also supported Asia Bibi, and ensured that she was placed another cell, where a camera now checks that she does not suffer any violence. It was a fatal decision for Bhatti. A terrorist blocked Bhatti's car as he left his mother's house and murdered him in broad daylight. Everyone knew that the death sentence would be carried out sooner or later. Rome's Trevi Fountain has just been illuminated red to remember Christian martyrs, such as Mr. Bhatti.

 

Street protests against Asia Bibi have continued since Qadri's execution on February 29, 2016. A senior Punjabi government official revealed that Bibi's security tightened was increased after intelligence reports surfaced that Islamist groups are conspiring to kill her inside the prison, to avenge the hanging of Qadri. These threats are why human rights organizations have demanded that the appeal of Asia Bibi, which has been postponed so far, will be conducted in a prison cell, under tight security measures. Any transfer needs to remain secret because Islamists are ready to exploit any opportunity to target her.

 

To understand Asia's impending martyrdom, one has to read the book she wrote with the French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet, entitled "Blasphemy". Asia Bibi must prepare her food by herself to avoid being poisoned. Even the guards threaten her with death. She never leaves her prison cell, and no one is allowed to enter to clean it. She has to clean it by herself, and the prison does not provide any cleaning products. In the small cell, which measures three meters, next to the bed there is what the guards, to mock her, call the "bathroom." It is a water pipe from the wall and a hole in the ground. This has been her life in the last five years, as in the crypt of a cemetery.

 

Meanwhile, Islamists just raised the bounty on her head to 50 million rupees ($678,000). Her lawyer explained that many Christians accused of blasphemy are killed in their prison cells before they can even appear in court. Asia Bibi never killed anyone. But in the so-called justice system of her country, she has done something much worse, the crime of crimes, the most absolute outrage: She — allegedly — offended the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. Criminals, murderers, and rapists are treated better than her.

 

It is the West's indolence and cupidity that has condemned Asia Bibi to death. For this courageous woman, no one in Europe has filled the streets to ask her liberation or to protest against Pakistan's anti-Christian laws. Even Pope Francis stood silent. The emblem of his reticence is the 12 seconds of face-to-face time the Pope had with Bibi's husband and her daughter in St. Peter's Square. Francis barely touched the two, while his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, publicly called many times for her release.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama, always full of rhetoric and ecumenical emotions, has never said a word about the persecution of Christians or asked his Pakistani allies to free Asia Bibi. And to quote the French newspaper Le Figaro, Europeans are usually "so eager" to have "mobilizations, petitions, demonstrations of every kind, but "in this case, nothing!"

 

For a long time, even the American mainstream press stood silent about the massacres of Christians, who are martyred every five minutes. This silence was broken by a brave dissident of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who dedicated to this mass martyrdom a masterful essay in Newsweek. The mainline Protestant churches of America, too busy demonizing Israel, also stood silent. In France, it has been impossible even to sponsor an event in which the receipts would be given in favor of these Christians. The operator of the Paris' metro refused an ad in favor of these Christians, then lifted the ban after protests. All European secular NGOs such as Oxfam are also silent, leaving the defense of Christians to heroic non-governmental organizations such as the Barnabas Fund.

 

Westerners have been accustomed to think of those remote Christians as if they were leftover agents of colonialism, so that we are deaf to their pleas and even to their tragic stories. Meanwhile, Christianity is being erased from its own cradle. Distaste for our moral cowardice is balanced by the admiration for these Christians, such as Asia Bibi, who continue to witness their faith in a land that wants to expel them from history. But the Western cowardice will be punished…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

           

                                                                       

Contents

AUTONOMOUS ASSYRIA: THE ONLY POSSIBLE SOLUTION

TO THE ARAB WORLD’S TERMINAL DISORDER

Paul Merkley

Bayview Review, Apr. 27, 2016

 

Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim. For perhaps a decade or two following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, all of the people who accepted the Christian message were Jews – most of them living in Jerusalem. But then missions, headed originally by surviving apostles, went out beyond Judea and Samaria and sought converts among the many neighboring kingdoms that were, like the Jews of Judea,  subject to Roman rule. Among the first of these Kingdoms to accept Christian faith as its national faith was Armenia — a prosperous Kingdom in part of what is today Turkey. Shortly thereafter, various Kingdoms in Egypt, Abyssinia (Ethiopia), North Africa and Arabia also entered the world of Christianity. Nearly six centuries later, Islam came into the world.

 

For perspective, we might note that several further centuries would again go by before the English language came into the world. And yet it is safe to say that most people who imagine themselves well-informed about history nod passively before the politically-correct fiction that Islam is indigenous to the Arab world, and that where there are churches anywhere in that world these were imposed during recent centuries by European missionaries working hand-in-hand with political imperialists.  It is Islam that was and is the imperialist in this story.

 

Within a few decades of the appearance of the Qur’an (630 AD), these Christians were faced with the terrible dilemma of either surrendering to fanatical illiterates everything that they believed — or converting, by simple vocal declaration. Ever since then, those brave souls who stayed with the faith have lived under the stigma of being subversive opponents of Truth, denied the benefit of full participation in the circles of those who govern and subject to punishing taxes from which the faithful are exempt. This is called the dhimmmi system, the system under which non-Muslims are allowed to exist but with restricted liberties, as less than citizens. This state of affairs continued legally until the last of the Muslim empires fell – that is the Ottoman Empire, which was dismantled about the end of the First World War.

 

At the same time, the Islamic warriors who founded their kingdoms beyond Arabia quickly became aware of certain benefits that they could gain by not bearing down too far on their Christian subjects, by not compelling their conversion. Compared to the Muslim warriors who were sweeping in from Arabia, indigenous Christian people throughout the Middle East and beyond had enjoyed high levels of literacy, education, professional accomplishment, economic success and extensive connections abroad. Accordingly, the Arab masters drew the Christians into eminent roles in the public life. The political leaders in the Arab world have always had to tread a fine line as they sought to sustain these valued indigenous, non-Arab, non-Muslim communities, while fending off accusation from the Muslim majority that they are aggrandizing the enemies of Allah. In moments of extraordinary crisis in the public life of the Arab world, these political masters swiftly turned their backs on the Christians and surrendered them to the Muslim mobs…            

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow

 

Contents                                                                                               

                                

MIDEAST TEACHERS REVEAL HOW ISLAM ERASES                              

CHRISTIANITY FROM HISTORY                                                                                                       

Raymond Ibrahim                                                                                                           

PJ Media, Apr. 21, 2016

 

Christianity is being physically erased from the Middle East with scant worldwide attention. Yet even fewer are aware that Christianity’s historical role and presence in the Middle East is also being expunged from memory. Last month, a video emerged showing Islamic State members tossing hundreds of Christian textbooks, many of them emblazoned with crosses, into a large bonfire. Per one report, ISIS was “burning Christian textbooks in an attempt to erase all traces of [Christianity]” from the ancient region of Mosul.

 

Christianity once thrived there for centuries before the rise of Islam. This isn’t simply about ISIS: ultimately, ISIS is merely an extreme example of Islam’s normative approach. This was confirmed during a recent conference in Amman, Jordan, titled “Toward a Complete Strategy to Combat Extremism." While presenting, Dr. Hena al-Kaldani, a Christian, said: “[T]here is a complete cancelation of Arab Christian history in the pre-Islamic era,” “many historical mistakes,” and “unjustifiable historic leaps in our Jordanian curriculum.”

 

By way of example, he said: “Tenth-grade textbooks omit any mention of any Christian or church history in the region.” Textbooks make no mention of Jerusalem’s Christian sites. Wherever Christianity is mentioned, omissions and mischaracterizations proliferate. Christianity is primarily mentioned as a Western (that is, “foreign”) source of colonization, said al-Kaldani. Of course, Christian minorities throughout the Middle East — not just in Jordan — have long maintained that the history taught in public classrooms habitually suppresses the region’s Christian heritage while magnifying (including by fabrication) Islamic history.

 

Said Kamal Mougheeth, a retired teacher in Egypt: “It sounds absurd, but Muslims more or less know nothing about Christians, even though they make up a large part of the population and are in fact the original Egyptians. Egypt was Christian for six or seven centuries [before the Muslim invasion around 640]. The sad thing is that for many years the history books skipped from Cleopatra to the Muslim conquest of Egypt. The Christian era was gone. Disappeared. An enormous black whole.”

 

This aligns perfectly with what my parents, Christians from Egypt, told me of their classroom experiences from more than half a century ago: there was virtually no mention of Hellenism, Christianity, or the Coptic Church, a millennium of Egypt’s pre-Islamic history. History simply began with the pharaohs before jumping to the seventh century, when Arabian Muslims “opened” Egypt to Islam. Wherever Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories, Islamic hagiography euphemistically refers to it as an “opening,” faith. Never a “conquest.”

 

Sharara Yousif Zara, an influential politician involved in the Iraqi Ministry of Education, agrees: “It’s the same situation in Iraq. There’s almost nothing about us [Christians] in our history books, and what there is, is totally wrong. There’s nothing about us being here before Islam. The only Christians mentioned are from the West. Many Iraqis believe we moved here. From the West. That we are guests in this country.”

 

Zara might be surprised to learn that similar ignorance and historical revisionism predominates in the West as well. Although Christians are in fact the most indigenous inhabitants of the Arab world, I am often asked — by educated people — why Christians “choose” to go live in the Middle East among Muslims if the latter treat them badly. The Middle East’s pseudo-historical approach to Christianity has, for generations, successfully indoctrinated Muslim students to suspect and hate Christianity, which is regularly seen as a non-organic, parasitic remnant left by Western colonialists. Despite preceding Islam in the region by six centuries.

 

This also explains one of Islam’s bitterest ironies: a great many of today’s Middle East Christians are being persecuted by Muslims — including of the ISIS variety — whose own ancestors were persecuted Christians who converted to Islam to end their suffering. In other words, Muslim descendants of persecuted Christians are today slaughtering their Christian cousins. Christians are seen as “foreign traitors” — perpetuating the cycle that originally made the region Muslim majority — in part because many Muslims do not know of their own Christian ancestry.

 

Due to such entrenched revisionism, Muslim “scholars” are able to disseminate highly dubious and ahistorical theses, as seen in Dr. Fadel Soliman’s 2011 book Copts: Muslims Before Muhammad. It claims that at the time of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the vast majority of Egyptians were not, as Muslim and Western history has long taught, Christians. Rather, the book claims they were prototypical Muslims, or muwahidin, who were being oppressed by European Christians. Hence, the Islamic invasion of Egypt was really about “liberating” fellow Muslims. Needless to say, no historian has ever suggested that Muslims invaded Egypt to liberate “proto-Muslims.” Rather, the Muslim chroniclers who wrote our primary sources on Islam candidly and refreshingly present the “openings” as they were: conquests. Replete with massacres, enslavement, displacement of Christians, and the destruction of thousands of churches.

 

In the end, the Muslim world’s historical approach to Christianity should be familiar. After all, doesn’t the West engage in the same chicanery? In both instances, Christianity is demonized and its history distorted by its usurping enemies: in the West by a host of “isms” – including leftism, moral relativism, and multiculturalism — and in the Middle East by Islam.

 

Contents           

On Topic Links

 

Fast-Growing Pentecostal Movement Enthusiastically Affirms Support for Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Apr. 13, 2016—Bishop John E. Putnam stood at the podium and exclaimed to the crowd, “Who here loves Israel and the Jewish people?” The thunderous applause indicated the ecstatic approval by more than 500 pastors, ministers, and their families attending a recent conference of United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Putnam, superintendent of UPCI’s Wisconsin District, had fired up the crowd, exhorting them to incorporate biblical principles in their everyday lives.

Jihad on Christian Church Tents: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016—A Christian church in Egypt was just torched to the ground at the hands of "extremists" on May 12. A video shows the structure burning as Christians scurry to throw pails of water on it. The church consisted of a large tent that had been consecrated and contained all the material of a "normal" church — an altar, icons, and crosses — and was led by Fr. Jonathan Adel. The Christians of the region had been meeting there for all regular church services, functions, and celebrations, and authorities had agreed to its existence and use as a church.

Pope Francis Defends Jihad, Says Christianity Has Similar Roots in Idea of Conquest: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, May 18, 2016—Islam and Christianity share the “same idea of conquest”, and for that reason, Islam should not be viewed as a threat, said Pope Francis in a newspaper interview this week. “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam,” he conceded to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. “However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

Germany: Christian Refugees Persecuted by Muslims: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016— Thousands of Christians in German refugee shelters are being persecuted by Muslims, sometimes even by their security guards, according to a new report, which asserts that in most cases German authorities have done nothing to protect the victims. The study alleges that German authorities and police have deliberately downplayed and even covered up the "taboo issue" of Muslim attacks on Christian refugees, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.

 

                    

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

WHILE TRADITIONAL JEW-HATRED IN M.E. CONTINUES “PROGRESSIVES” PROMOTE THE “NEW ANTISEMITISM”

 

 

The Link Between BDS and Jew Hatred on Campus: Barbara Kay, National Post, Mar. 22, 2016— In a Feb. 25 Facebook post, McGill student Molly Harris recounted her experience in a “Rez (residence) Project” workshop…

Turkey's Runaway Anti-Semitism: Burak Bekdil, Gatestone Institute, Mar. 10, 2016— The 74th anniversary of an embarrassing tragedy took place in Turkey on February 24, 2016.

Blaming Jews for Anti-Semitism: The Old Canard Exposed: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 4, 2016— A widely-held belief that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism has been entrenched in the Western world for many centuries.

Jesus at the Checkpoint: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2016— It’s that crazy Christian time of year in Bethlehem when traditional beliefs are thrown out of the church window.

 

On Topic Links

 

PLEASE WATCH: This is a Powerful and Moving Message About the Story of Purim: Rabbi Jacobson, The Chevra, Mar. 25, 2016

Read Donald Trump’s Speech to AIPAC: Sarah Begley, Time, Mar. 21 2016

Merkel Hosting MKs among 100 Parliamentarians at Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism: David Israel, Jewish Press, Mar. 15, 2016

Malaysia: a Hotbed of Anti-Semitism: Robert Fulford, National Post, Jan. 2, 2016

                                                                  

 

 

THE LINK BETWEEN BDS AND JEW HATRED ON CAMPUS

             Barbara Kay

National Post, Mar. 22, 2016

           

In a Feb. 25 Facebook post, McGill student Molly Harris recounted her experience in a “Rez (residence) Project” workshop, a (mandatory) three-hour discussion on “oppression, privilege, consent and race” designed to create a “safe space” for fellow dorm students. Molly described an incident when, singled out negatively for being Jewish, she felt unsafe. According to Molly, the facilitator responded that Molly could feel victimized for being female, but “being Jewish didn’t constitute grounds for systematic oppression.”

 

Molly writes, “Though a little perturbed, I let this go, I didn’t argue with the facilitator, and stayed quiet for the remainder of the workshop.” I sympathize with Molly’s intuition that pressing the issue would not have gone well for her. On campuses with an active anti-Zionist presence, like McGill, hatred of Israel has a trickledown effect into the general “social justice” agenda — feminism, Black Lives Matter, LGBT and others — which has hardened many progressives’ hearts against all Jewish pain, and shamed Jewish students into suppressing or denying it.

 

And so it has become commonplace even for Jewish students well-versed in their people’s history to accept the mantle of “privilege” rather than insist that 60 years of success in North America isn’t a patch on three thousands years of exclusion, religious persecution, second-class status and wholesale massacre, not to mention ethnic cleansing from 94 countries (with the alleged sins of the only one from which they cannot be expelled the hysterical, single-focus obsession of “human rights” activism).

 

Molly’s uncomfortable experience ranks as relatively benign in the scheme of anti-Israel expression on North American campuses, where the always-thin line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has been slowly but surely dissolving…A survey of U.S. Jewish college students by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law reveals that 54 per cent of surveyed students reported experiencing or witnessing instances of anti-Semitism on campus in the first six months of the 2013-14 academic year. Another Brandeis survey found that 75 per cent of North American Jewish college student respondents “had been exposed to anti-Semitic rhetoric,” and one third “harassed because they were Jewish.” Both surveys found active BDS campaigns to be a consistent correlated factor in the anti-Jewish hostility.

 

A new report by the AMCHA Initiative (Hebrew for “your people”) confirms that BDS promotion creates “a hostile environment for Jewish students.” AMCHA examined 113 U.S. public and private colleges and universities with the largest populations of Jewish students in North America (but not the Canadian campuses that have high Jewish enrollment). Data were gathered from incident reports, media accounts, social media postings and online recordings. Also examined were the presence or absence of active anti-Zionist student groups and the number of faculty who had signed one or more petitions or statements endorsing an academic boycott of Israeli universities and scholars.

 

Categories for “targeting” of Jewish students included: physical assault, genocidal expression, destruction of Jewish property, discrimination, and intimidation. Language was considered anti-Semitic if it included historical tropes like blood libels or conspiracy theories (Jewish control of media, banks, governments, etc.), conflation of Jews with Nazis, Holocaust denial, and demonization or delegitimization of Israel (derived from the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism). They found, for example, that on more than 60 campuses, Israel was vilified for genocide, crimes against humanity, “pinkwashing” (LGBT tolerance as a distraction from Israeli evil) and “faithwashing” (Israel’s religious tolerance for the same reason). A speaker at one school called Israel “the embodiment of evil.”

 

The report concludes that anti-Zionism is the most prominent face of contemporary anti-Semitism on campuses today, and that the best statistical predictors of overall anti-Semitic activity on a campus are the presence of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and the number of faculty who have endorsed the academic boycott of Israel. Significantly, they found that the level of BDS activity on campus is the best predictor of anti-Jewish hostility…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

TURKEY'S RUNAWAY ANTI-SEMITISM

               Burak Bekdil                                   

Gatestone Institute, Mar. 10, 2016

 

The 74th anniversary of an embarrassing tragedy took place in Turkey on February 24, 2016. The MV Struma was a small iron-hulled ship built in 1867 as a steam-powered schooner, but was later re-engined with an unreliable second-hand diesel engine. In 1941, it was tasked with safely transporting an estimated 781 Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to Britain's Mandatory Palestine. Between its departure from Constanta on the Black Sea on Dec. 12, 1941 and arrival in Istanbul on Dec. 15, the vessel's engine failed several times. On Feb. 23, 1942 with her engine still not running but the refugees aboard, Turkish authorities towed the Struma from Istanbul through the Bosporus out to the Black Sea. On the morning of Feb. 24, the Soviet submarine Shch-213 torpedoed the Struma, killing all but one of the refugees and 10 crew aboard.

 

Until this year Turkey, one of the main culprits, had only once commemorated the victims. This year, official Turkey decided, should be the second time. A wreath and carnations were hurled at the sea in the shadow of the horrible event that took place decades ago. At the commemoration ceremony at Sarayburnu harbor on the Bosporus were the head of Turkey's Jewish community, Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva and Istanbul's governor, Vasip Sahin. In his speech, Sahin said: "We observe that the necessary lessons were not drawn from such tragedies." He was right, at least from a Turkish point of view.

 

When it comes to diplomatic conflict between Turkey and Israel or Turkish anti-Semitism, there is always an unusual optimism in the official language chosen by Israeli officials or Jewish community leaders. For instance, Ibrahimzadeh praised "recent steps by the Turkish state to mend history with the Jewish community." Echoing the same optimism, chairman Stephen Greenberg and executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, assured that Turkey's small (less than 17,000-strong) Jewish community feels "safe and secure" despite being placed in the middle of a political feud between Turkey and Israel — sparked first in 2009 by then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's clash with former Israeli President Shimon Peres at a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

 

Such optimism in official narratives is normal, especially because Ankara and Jerusalem have been privately negotiating a deal to end their hostilities and normalize their diplomatic relations. Non-constructive, let alone explosive, speeches from any state or non-state actor will not help diplomats from either side in their efforts to reconcile. All the same, facts on the ground are a little bit different than the rosy picture. If Turkish Jews are "safe and secure" in Turkey, why do they feel compelled to protect their schools and synagogues with heavy security? Why do most synagogues in Istanbul look almost like a U.S. embassy in Baghdad or Islamabad?

 

On Jan. 20, 2016, a Turkish synagogue in an old Jewish neighborhood in Istanbul was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti days after holding its first prayer service in 65 years. Vandals painted the external walls of the Istipol Synagogue with the script: "Terrorist Israel, there is Allah." "Writing anti-Israel speech on the wall [outside] of a synagogue is an act of anti-Semitism," said Ivo Molinas, editor-in-chief of Turkish Jewish newspaper, Şalom. "Widespread anti-Semitism in Turkey gets in the way of celebrating the richness of cultural diversity in this country."

 

Less than a month after that, a column in the radical Islamist Turkish daily Vahdet claimed that the evolutionary theory of "the Jew" Charles Darwin contradicts Allah's word in the Koran and that in actual fact, monkeys evolved from perverted Jews whom Allah cursed and punished. Unsurprisingly, the columnist, Seyfi Sahin, is a staunch supporter of President Erdogan's Justice and Development Party. Sahin claims to be a physician, and argued that "Jews terrorize the world of science" and, "as a Jew, Darwin concocted his theory of evolution in order to turn Muslims away from their religion." He further wrote:

 

"The aim of [Darwin's] theory is to turn the non-Jews away from their religion, to harm their faith, and to make them suspicious about their religion. Darwin, being a Jew, believed, lived, and was buried according to his religion. His real targets were the Muslims … I believe that the gorillas and chimps living today in the forests of North Africa are cursed Jews. They are perverted humans that have mutated." There are no reports of Sahin being investigated or prosecuted under Turkey's anti-racism laws. Not surprising. No such case has ever been heard of.

 

More recently, there was the curious case of Yusuf Kaplan, a Turkish Islamist columnist and a darling of Erdogan and his supporters — until he dared to criticize the government's foreign policy. Kaplan a columnist for Yeni Safak, one of Erdogan's favorite newspapers and one of his staunchest supporters, argued in a television appearance that the government's foreign policy was incompatible with regional realities. So what? Not so difficult to guess.

 

Leading users on social media called for Kaplan's death and accused him of killing another pro-government journalist, of being a British spy and of "collusion with the Jews." Many called him a "Jewish stooge." A Jewish stooge? The man has a remarkable record of making anti-Semitic statements, including his claim that "Jews rule the Western universities and world media and that their paranoia can reach barbaric, cruel and inhuman dimensions." On the 74th anniversary of the Struma tragedy, anti-Semitism in Turkey reached such intensity that even anti-Semitic Islamists were not immune to anti-Semitic smear campaigns.

Contents

                        BLAMING JEWS FOR ANTI-SEMITISM: THE OLD CANARD EXPOSED

                                                        Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

                                                          Arutz Sheva, Mar. 4, 2016

 

A widely-held belief that Jews are responsible for anti-Semitism has been entrenched in the Western world for many centuries. In 2015, Isaac Bachman, Israeli ambassador to Sweden, exposed this perverted idea when invited for a rare state radio interview. The female interviewer asked him if Jews were responsible for the rising anti-Semitism in Europe. The ambassador rejected the question entirely.

 

However, the interviewer insisted. Bachman then answered that “the question of how a woman contributes to the fact of her rape is irrelevant altogether. I don’t think there is any provocation that Jews are doing – they just exist.” Afterwards, Sweden’s state radio took the unusual step of publicly apologizing and even deleted the question from the recording of the interview in its digital archive.

 

A recent French poll has again brought this ever-simmering belief into the limelight. Seventeen percent of those interviewed among the general public responded that Jews are significantly responsible for anti-Semitism. The percentage among Muslims was much higher, 31%. An additional forty-two percent of both general and Muslim respondents answered that there is Jewish responsibility for anti-Semitism, yet it is minimal. The majority of the French thus adhere to this false accusation whose beginnings go back more than fifteen centuries.

 

Jewish responsibility for what much later was called anti-Semitism is an ancient core idea of Christianity, usually used together with two other extremely evil concepts; collective responsibility and scapegoating. The Jews were perceived as responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, which was in reality a sentence decided on and executed by the Romans.

 

Few Jews, if any, were present at the crucifixion. This did not prevent the collective blaming of all Jews through all generations for an evil act that even those few had not committed. This is another example of a typically rabid discriminatory attitude: that of stereotyping an entire group of people for the evil acts supposedly perpetrated by a small number of its members. On the contrary: responsibility for the innumerable anti-Semitic attacks, expulsions, pogroms and the like carried out by Christians throughout the centuries rests exclusively with those who ordered and committed such acts.

 

Even Martin Niemöller, one of the best-known German Protestant critics of Nazism during the Second World War, delivered pre-war sermons claiming that the Jews were cursed because their ancestors killed Christ. The persecution of the Jews has thus became an iconic example of blaming the victims.

 

In 1937 Winston Churchill wrote an article titled “How The Jews Can Combat Persecution” that was never published. It partially blamed Jews for anti-Semitism. Although he wrote that Jews were industrious and law-abiding, Churchill added that “there are times when one feels instinctively that all this is only another manifestation of the difference, the separateness of the Jew.” He then blamed Jews for “aloofness” and urged them to integrate into wider society to prevent future persecution. Churchill was soon proven dramatically wrong under the German occupation, when converted or assimilated Jews who matched the encompassing definition of Jews set down in the Nuremberg laws, were murdered along with other Jews.

 

American psychology professor Kevin MacDonald has strongly espoused, and abused, the concept of Jewish responsibility for anti-Semitism. In a series of books on evolutionary psychology published from 1994-2004, this hatemonger claimed that Jews had a successful group “evolutionary strategy” and that anti-Semitism is a “rational” response to Jewish successes. In his view, the Spanish Inquisition was a “defensive reaction to the economic and political domination [of Jews]” and even Nazism was justified as a “group evolutionary strategy that mirrored Judaism.”

 

Even some intelligent Jews have not grasped the insidious nature of this anti-Semitic trope. In 2003, billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros spoke before the Jewish Funders Network. In addition to blaming Israeli and US policies, he also blamed himself. In his words, “I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world… As an unintended consequence of my actions, I also contribute to that image.” In response to Soros’ speech, the late Elan Steinberg, senior advisor to the World Jewish Congress at that time, gave the correct answer: “Let’s understand things clearly: Anti-Semitism is not caused by Jews; it’s caused by anti-Semites. One can certainly be critical of Bush’s policy or Sharon’s policy, but any deviation from the understanding of the real cause of anti-Semitism is not merely a disservice, but a historic lie.”

 

Contents

           JESUS AT THE CHECKPOINT

                        Barry Shaw

                                             Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2016

 

It’s that crazy Christian time of year in Bethlehem when traditional beliefs are thrown out of the church window. March 7-10 will see the fourth rendering of that anti-Israel libel “Christ at the Checkpoint” played out yet again. It is bad enough when devious Arab Islamic leaders, including Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, speak at Christmas time of Jesus the “Palestinian messenger,” but it is something completely different when church leaders call Jesus a Palestinian.

 

They know it is a lie, yet they subscribe to this mantra. It leads one to question why they do it. Why do they go out of their way to deny the undeniable Jewishness of Jesus according to their own biblical commentaries? There can only be one inevitable conclusion. It’s anti-Semitism. It was anti-Semitism that fed the brutal dogma that expelled and killed millions of Jews as European Christianity pursued Jews around the globe from Spain and Portugal into central and southern America in the name of Christendom. It was anti-Semitism at the heart of replacement theology that positioned God as having abandoned His Covenant with the Jewish people in favor of Christians. It is anti-Semitism that drives Christian leaders to abandon the Old Testament narration of a return to Zion of the Jewish people in favor of promoting the notorious Kairos Palestine Document, which positions Palestinian Arabs as Jesus-figures deprived of their land, and Israelis as the Christ-killers. This blood libel is alive and well. It has shaken off the Christian shame of the Shoah, and found its voice in anti-Zionism.

Deconstructing the history of the Land of Israel in order to deny Jewish sovereignty is central to Palestinian policy. This narrative has been adopted by many Christians, who have found a moral hook on which to hang their anti-Semitism, namely the transfiguration of who are the violent and devious actors and who are the victims. It is truly appalling how cynically deceptive some Christian leaders can be. They come up with emotional but false messages. Take Christ at the Checkpoint as an example. This is the name of the event taking place in Bethlehem this month. Christians will try to portray Jesus as a Palestinian suffering at an Israeli checkpoint. In support of the Palestinian narrative it carries the message, “Your Kingdom come!” Had Jesus arrived at a checkpoint this year he would have been reminded by Israeli soldiers that, as a Jew, it was too dangerous for him to cross into Bethlehem, as his life would be in grave danger in a place that has become so radically Islamic that even the Christians have fled this once Christian town.

Elias Freij, the Christian mayor of Bethlehem at the time of the town’s handover by Israel to Arafat’s PLO, correctly prophesized that Bethlehem would be a town of churches but no Christians. Participants at this event should be reminded that Israeli security forces arrested 14 members of Islamic Jihad based in Bethlehem. During their search, they found weapons and explosives in the houses of the Bethlehem terrorists. At precisely the same time, the rector of London’s St. James’s Church was organizing, at her church, a propaganda event called “Bethlehem Unwrapped.” In a Guardian newspaper article, said she was supporting a “beautiful resistance.” Neither should churches be supporting such “resistance,” known to Israelis as terrorist attacks. This is the campaign and cause that some Christian leaders and the Christ at the Checkpoint event promote, while hiding the truth of what is actually going on here.

What is going on is that Israelis are being targeted for slaughter, as are Christians in the Muslim world, including within Palestinian-controlled areas. In Bethlehem, they are being persecuted and oppressed, not by Israel but by Palestinians, including the leadership. Prior to Israel’s surrender of Bethlehem to Arafat’s PLO in 1995, the Christian population was actually growing beyond the 80 percent mark, but today Bethlehem’s Christians have been reduced to a mere 10%. This can hardly be blamed on Israel, considering that the Christian population in the Jewish state continues to flourish. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian community has expanded more than a thousand percent.

Christ at the Checkpoint is primarily a public relations plot to dissuade Evangelicals worldwide from their pro-Israel views. They state this openly in their mission statement. They wish “to create a platform for serious engagement with Christian Zionism” in order to pull them away from their support for Israel. Mark Tooley of Front Page magazine wrote, “To succeed, they will have to put blinders on cooperatively gullible evangelicals, guiding their eyes towards disruptive Israeli checkpoints, while hiding the rest of the surrounding reality.” How right he is. It is this dishonest act that reveals their anti-Semitism. It is not performed out of ignorance. It is done knowingly, a conscious act of deception and yet another Christian libel against the Jew, this time the national Jew, Israel…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
 

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

On Topic

 

PLEASE WATCH: This is a Powerful and Moving Message About the Story of Purim: Rabbi Jacobson, The Chevra, Mar. 25, 2016

Read Donald Trump’s Speech to AIPAC: Sarah Begley, Time, Mar. 21 2016—Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, his party’s front runner for the nomination, addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday, discussing relations between the U.S. and Israel. A complete transcript of his remarks follows.

Merkel Hosting MKs among 100 Parliamentarians at Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism: David Israel, Jewish Press, Mar. 15, 2016 —MKs Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Anat Berko (Likud) are participating this week in the third conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating anti-Semitism being held in Berlin, with 100 parliamentarians from 40 countries. The conference is an initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the German Foreign Ministry and the Bundestag.

Malaysia: a Hotbed of Anti-Semitism: Robert Fulford, National Post, Jan. 2, 2016—Anna Baltzer, a national organizer of boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel in the United States, was heartened to receive a warm welcome at a recent conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

 

 

                        

 

 

 

                  

 

 

 

HAPPY FESTIVAL OF PURIM!

 

 

 

Purim 5776: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Mar. 24, 2016— The Purim holiday gives us the courage and strength to overcome and survive the darkest times.

Purim – the Festival of Masks: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Jewish Press, Mar. 22, 2016— Purim is different. While other Jewish holidays can be serious and solemn, Purim has fun, games, and even clowning.

What is Canada Doing About ISIL’s Genocide Against Christians?: Matthew Fisher, National Post, Mar. 17, 2016— The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is hell-bent on exterminating ancient Christian communities across the Middle East.

Call it a Genocide of Christians: Clifford D. May, Washington Times, Mar. 15, 2016— In the Yemeni port city of Aden earlier this month, Islamists attacked a Catholic home for the indigent elderly.

 

On Topic Links

 

Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2016: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Mar. 22 2016

2,400 Years Later, God Continues to Save and Protect the Jews: Rivkah Lambert Adler, Breaking Israel News, Mar. 24, 2016

Jesus at the Checkpoint: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2016

ISIS Is Guilty of Anti-Christian Genocide: Demetrios of Mokissos, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2015

 

PURIM 5776

Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Mar. 24, 2016

 

 

                                                                                                                        In Loving Memory of Malka z”l

 

The Purim holiday gives us the courage and strength to overcome and survive the darkest times. The Book of Esther is a story describing not just one period of Jewish history, but all periods of Jewish life. It is the story that remains forever new.

Purim gives us: the hope, the Tikva, that we will see the downfall of all the Amaleks who came to destroy us. The “Grager News” will forever proclaim Hashem’s victories against the enemies of Am Israel!

 

AM YISRAEL CHAI!                                                                                                                      

“The People of Israel Live!”

 

Hag Purim Sameach                                                                                                                  

Happy Festival of Purim!

 

(Baruch Cohen is Research Chairman of CIJR, and a member of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)

 

                                                                        Contents

PURIM – THE FESTIVAL OF MASKS

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

Jewish Press, Mar. 22, 2016

           

Purim is different. While other Jewish holidays can be serious and solemn, Purim has fun, games, and even clowning. For many generations, Purim has been considered the festival of masks. While there may have been outside influences, the masks seem to grow out of the very essence of the festival. The entire Book of Esther can be defined as a story of masks. The Book begins with a wine-drinking banquet. From that point on, the atmosphere of a drinking feast continues to reign in all the events and episodes of the story.

 

Some of the masks in the Book of Esther are explicitly described, while others are supplemented with Midrashic stories. Esther wears a mask from the beginning until practically to the end: she arrives at the king’s palace, and lives there for an extended period, incognito. The king and his ministers see only her mask. None of them knows who she really is. Mordechai, too, is a masked figure, partially revealed and partially hidden. While he openly sits at the gates of the king’s palace, his relationship with Esther – an important part of the plot – is hidden. Even when he saves the king’s life by uncovering an assassination plot to kill him, the king still has no idea who he is.

 

Haman, too, is a two-faced figure. Our Sages explain his relationship with Mordechai by positing that the two had known each other much earlier in their lives, when both were insignificant. They also tell us that Haman was a hairdresser and bath attendant in a small village.

 

At first, this Midrash seems quite odd. However, as we examine our history, we discover that many Jew-haters began as small, unimportant figures. Once they reached positions of power, they could reveal what had always been seething within them: Jew-hatred. Even the overt aspects of Haman’s story – such as his insistence that everyone bow down to him, and his inability to overcome his humiliation when Mordechai did not comply – create an image of a very small human being. Haman could not contain his own greatness, and was therefore insulted by a person who should have meant nothing to him.

 

Our Sages say something similar about Memuchan, one of King Ahasuerus’ most important ministers – the King’s supreme legal advisor. They say that he suffered greatly at his wife’s hands. That was why he was so eager for a royal decree giving him the right to rule over her. (Although it is unlikely that even the King’s decree, written, sealed and sent to all the corners of the kingdom, availed him at all).

 

Of all the protagonists of the Book of Esther, perhaps the only one whose outer appearance matches his inner essence is King Ahasuerus. The Book of Esther tells us that he knew the contents of this scroll. The Book, therefore, could not possibly contain any negative or mordant remarks about him. Even so, the book does express hidden – though highly elegant – scorn toward the king. It is seen in the gap between Ahasuerus’s real nature – a drunkard, profligate individual – and his external image as a stable, authoritative ruler.

 

This is evident from the beginning. In the first chapter, Ahasuerus does something that is quite unbecoming of a king: he demands that his wife be displayed in public (dressed or naked, according to different commentaries.) When she refuses, he asks his most senior jurist for legal counsel on how to handle her.

 

Later on, Ahasuerus is willing to condemn all the Jews – about whom he probably knows very little – to total annihilation, and then he changes his mind about it while, with uncharacteristic generosity, he also cedes the very generous compensation offered him by Haman. And all this happens as a gesture made at yet another wine-drinking banquet. The scene pegs him as a very unstable person who affects the lives of an entire people with little or no thought. Later on, however, he says that he cannot annul his earlier decrees regarding the Jews, by which he wishes to present himself as a law-abiding monarch who cannot budge an inch from the laws he had made.

 

The protagonists of the Book of Esther are not the only ones who wear masks: on a deeper level one can say that the entire Book of Esther is, in essence and content, a masked story. For one thing, while there is not a single supernatural event in the entire book, all the events described in it are inter-related, and their miraculous nature is quite obvious. The supernatural aspects of the story are explicitly revealed, both in Mordechai’s appeal to Esther and in her decision to fast and pray for three days in order to annul the wicked decree. Our Sages add (Hullin 139b) that even Esther’s name (which in Persian is the name of a star) alludes to the Biblical verse (Deuteronomy 31, 18) “and I will surely hide My face” (which in Hebrew reads va’anokhi haster astir panai – reminiscent of the name Esther).

 

And with no mention of God’s Name in this book, it seems that even God Himself is hiding His face behind a mask. This Divine hiding of the Face, this Godly mask, is the very heart of the festival of Purim. In the history of the Jewish nation, which is so full of tribulations, Haman’s decree is the most terrible: to annihilate the entire Jewish people. When that decree was sent to all the corners of the kingdom, every Jew must have surely felt that the Divine Face was one of fury, that this might indeed be the end of the Jewish nation. However, at the end of the story, this hiding of the face was no more than a mask. Once removed, it revealed a smiling countenance.

 

The Purim story, then, is a kind of game; in the beginning one sees a frowning face, but eventually one sees that it is nothing but a mask. The terrifying threat not only vanishes, it turns into joy and salvation. Since Purim is a festival of the hiding of the Face, it ought to be celebrated by wearing costumes and masks. In this way we express the essence of Purim as a festival marked, from beginning to end, by concealing and revelation.

Contents

WHAT IS CANADA DOING ABOUT ISIL’S GENOCIDE AGAINST CHRISTIANS?

Matthew Fisher                                        

National Post, Mar. 17, 2016

 

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is hell-bent on exterminating ancient Christian communities across the Middle East. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finally confirmed this Thursday when he declared ISIL was guilty of genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria. This follows a similar declaration by the European Union last month.

 

Raped and resold in same day: Yazidi girls tell of lives (and suicide attempts) as jihadist sex slaves

 

Yazidi girls – some as young as eight – were raped by jihadists and then resold, says a report compiled by Human Rights Watch. The most harrowing account yet of what became of Yazidi females abducted by ISIL comes after the rights group interviewed 20 women and girls who managed to escape after their ethnic minority sect was targeted by ISIL last summer. They described how the hostages became the victims of a mass program of sexual slavery, with girls as young as eight being traded between the jihadists or given as gifts.

 

ISIL’s outrages against Christians in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen had created a political firestorm on Capitol Hill the Obama administration clearly felt compelled to respond to. Regrettably the violent persecution of Christians across the Islamic world never seems to cause a sustained stir in Canada. The lack of interest in actively defending Christians and other minorities in Iraq from harm was underscored by the Trudeau’s government decision last month to withdraw Canadian warplanes from combat operations against ISIL. It presumably explains why Global Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion has been non-committal about whether to close the Office for Religious Freedom or appoint another ambassador to oversee it when its mandate and funding run out in two weeks.

 

The office, established by the Harper government in 2013, has funded programs to encourage religious tolerance in Indonesia, Pakistan and Iraq. Sadly, it has not succeeded in making Canadians much more aware of this growing problem, which, it should be stressed, does not only afflict Christian minorities but many other religious groups. First among them are Iraq’s horribly abused Yazidis, whose fate was mentioned Thursday by Kerry. Yazidi men and boys have been slaughtered. Yazidi women have been forced to become sex slaves and are being bought, sold and traded by jihadists.

 

Those being persecuted elsewhere include Muslims who have been attacked by Buddhists in Myanmar, Hazara Shias in Afghanistan, Sunnis in Iran and Shias in the Persian Gulf states, Sunnis and Shias in Iraq and Syria, and the few Sephardic Jews who are still brave enough to live where their ancestors have for many centuries across the Middle East.

 

Christians are at greatest peril in Iraq and Syria, but they are also at grave risk from Sunni extremists from Tripoli, Cairo and Aden to Baghdad. Egypt’s Copts, long the most numerous Christian group in the Middle East, and the still vibrant multi-denominational Lebanese Christians, may survive. But other Christian enclaves in and near the Holy Land are being bludgeoned to death or slowly fading away.

 

Further afield, Pakistan’s two million Christians are back on their heels. Their churches, homes and schools have often been burned down and they find it increasingly difficult to find work. Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia and Sudan face similar difficulties. In one of the most heinous acts, ISIL overran a compound last month in Yemen where sisters from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity cared for the elderly. Four nuns and 12 others were bound and shot in the head, then a priest was kidnapped. As many as 28 Ethiopian Christians were shot or beheaded by ISIL last year in Libya

 

The Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus and another group which calls itself In Defense of Christians, demanded in a recently published report the U.S. declare what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria was genocide. Of the two million Christians who lived there at the turn of the century, only 300,000 remain.

 

My first brush with violence against Christians occurred in 2003, when I attended mass at a Chaldean Catholic church in Baghdad. U.S. troops had erected barriers to stop suicide bombers in vehicles and built a heavily fortified bunker across the street. Mothers inside the church were not shy about approaching foreign Christian males to ask if they might wish to marry their daughters, and spirit them and their kin out of the madness that was closing in on them.

 

A few years back, I visited the hauntingly beautiful churches and monasteries carved into a hillside of Maaloula, not far north of Damascus. One of the last pockets in the Middle East where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, was still spoken, the town is now back under Syrian government control after having been plundered, its architectural treasures and Christian relics blasted apart by al-Nusra Front, another Sunni extremist group.

 

Several times in 2014 and again last year, I met panicked Christians from Mosul and the historically Christian plain that surrounds the city, who had taken refuge on church grounds in the Iraqi Kurdish capital, Erbil. One young fellow with a cross tattooed on his hand told me the best he could have hoped for if ISIL had spotted the cross was to have his hand lopped off. It is far more likely he would have lost his head. Such ghastly abominations are a reality of Christian life in the Middle East. It is perverse that other than occasional bland platitudes few Canadians appear to be moved by such horrors.

 

Contents

                                     CALL IT A GENOCIDE OF CHRISTIANS

                                                        Clifford D. May

          Washington Times, Mar. 15, 2016

 

In the Yemeni port city of Aden earlier this month, Islamists attacked a Catholic home for the indigent elderly. The militants, believed to be soldiers of the Islamic State, shot the security guard, then entered the facility where they gunned down the old people and their caregivers, including four nuns. At least 16 people were murdered.

 

Such atrocities are no longer seen as major news events. Most diplomats regard them — or dismiss them — as “violent extremism,” a phrase that describes without explaining. On America’s campuses, “activists” are deeply concerned about “trigger warnings” and “microaggressions.” Massacres of Christians in Muslim lands, by contrast, seem to trouble them not at all.

 

But honesty matters — or should. And accuracy is a prerequisite to sound policymaking. Christianity was born in the Middle East. Christians have survived — not without difficulty — under Muslim empires, caliphates and dictators for more than a thousand years in the Middle East. Now they are being wiped out by self-proclaimed jihadis in the Middle East. That’s genocide.

 

Members of Congress have been calling on President Obama to use that term no later than March 17 — a deadline that administration spokesmen now say may not be met because a legal review has yet to be completed. The legal definition of genocide: “Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.”

 

Adding a bit of pressure, the House on Monday passed, by a vote of 393-0, a resolution condemning the Islamic State’s “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” targeting Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and other religious and ethnic minorities. “ISIS is guilty of genocide and it is time we speak the truth about their atrocities,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce. “I hope the administration and the world will do the same, before it’s too late.” A second House resolution passed on Monday calls for an international tribunal to hold the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, client of both Iran and Russia, accountable for its numerous and egregious war crimes.

 

It should not go unremarked that the “cleansing” of ancient Christian communities from the Muslim world follows by an historical blink of the eye the expulsion of even more ancient Jewish communities from the same lands. In the years after World War II and the Holocaust, Jews throughout the Middle East were subject to intensified persecution.

 

Some will argue this was a reaction to Israel’s declaration of independence. But wouldn’t the best argument against the rebirth of a Jewish state have been to demonstrate that there was no need — that Muslim-majority countries would never countenance genocide as had so many Europeans, that tolerance would be extended to Jews and other minorities?

 

Close to a million Jews soon fled Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other corners of the region. Before long, these Jewish refugees and their descendants constituted more than half the population of Israel — the only nation in the Middle East that today guarantees minority rights, the only nation in the Middle East that today has a growing Christian population.

 

Despite that (or perhaps in part because of it), Israel’s neighbors still hope to destroy it. Last week, Iran test-fired two ballistic missiles. Along the length of one was written in both Hebrew and Persian: “Israel must be erased from the face of the Earth.” You have to give the jihadis this: They are candid about what they believe and what they intend. Osama bin Laden frequently spoke and wrote of the obligation to fight “Jewish and Christian Crusaders.”

 

Justifying the jihad as defensive is a clever — though hardly original — tactic. In 1996, in the first al Qaeda fatwa declaring war on the United States, bin Laden wrote of the “fierce Judeo-Christian campaign against the Muslim world,” urging Muslims to “repel the aggressive enemy that corrupts the religion and the world. Nothing deserves a higher priority, after faith, as the religious scholars have declared.”

 

No, America, Israel and Europe are not at war with Islam. But, yes, there are those within the Islamic world determined to kill Christians, Jews, Yazidis, Hindus, Buddhists and others — “the greater Kufr,” as bin Laden called them, a term of derision for those who do not embrace Islam as the one and only true religion.

 

Soldiers may fight with more zeal if they hate their enemies or at least see them as less than human. But Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and inspires Iran’s current rulers, was not alone in regarding the slaughter of non-Muslims as an act of kindness…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

On Topic

 

Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2016: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, Mar. 22 2016—The 586 BCE destruction of the First Temple (on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount), by the Babylonian Emperor, Nebuchadnezzar, triggered a wave of Jewish emigration to Babylon and to Persia, which replaced Babylon as the leading regional power.

2,400 Years Later, God Continues to Save and Protect the Jews: Rivkah Lambert Adler, Breaking Israel News, Mar. 24, 2016 —As told in the Biblical Book of Esther, the lives of Jewish people in 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia, were miraculously saved from the hands of Haman who vowed to exterminate the Jewish nation. Each year at this time, Jews around the world celebrate Purim to remember the miracle that allowed the Jews to defend themselves against their enemies.

Jesus at the Checkpoint: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 8, 2016—It’s that crazy Christian time of year in Bethlehem when traditional beliefs are thrown out of the church window. March 7-10 will see the fourth rendering of that anti-Israel libel “Christ at the Checkpoint” played out yet again.

ISIS Is Guilty of Anti-Christian Genocide: Demetrios of Mokissos, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11, 2015—Christians throughout the world will mark Monday, Feb. 15, as a day to remember the courage and religious fortitude of 21 Coptic Christians who were executed one year ago by Islamic State terrorists in Libya.