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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Demonize Israel in 60 minutes!

     On Sunday April 22, 2012 CBS ran a new "60 minutes" segment titled "Christians of the Holy Land".  
     The decision to air the piece right between Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) made me wonder if the date hadn't been selected to further an already damaging agenda of demonization of Israel.
     As I watched the piece, I couldn't help but reminisce on the days when "60 minutes" was drawing viewers because of its unbiased professional reporting of world events...Days long gone apparently! Instead, Bob Simon unashamedly presented a "victimized" community of "Palestinian Christians" suffering undeserved hardships at the hands of the "Occupiers" of Palestine i.e.: Israel. The segment still attracted 13 million American viewers.
     This had got to be one of the most biased piece I have seen in a long time. As I try to keep my finger on the pulse of global antisemitism, I have read and heard a lot of diatribes being dispensed and I have come to expect these kind of stories from Radical Muslims, liberals and unfortunately, even some evangelical Christians. I would expect a show like "60 minutes" to cover such a controversial topic as the Middle East crisis, but not to go on a witch hunt like they did.
     Fortunately, it didn't take long for many voices of protest to be heard. They came from both sides of the pro-Israel camp: The Jewish Community and the Evangelical community. Incidentally, being pro-Israel doesn't necessarily mean that one is anti-Palestinian, which is hardly ever true the other way around!
     A third into the report, Bob Simon interviewed a Palestinian Lutheran minister who claims that:"The only thing that Palestine has been able to export successfully was Christianity" and further down, he adds:"Christianity has actually on the back a stamp that says 'Made in Palestine'". The only time the word "Israel" is ever mentioned, is to describe the "occupiers" or "wall builders".
     Then, Bob Simon continues by making a statement that the viewers have no choice but to accept as undeniable fact: "Israel has occupied the West Bank for 45 years". Even though most of the world already supports the "Palestinian underdogs", no other view is even remotely offered as a possible alternative to the land issue.    Honest reporting was not on the agenda, taking sides was!
     Where was the mentioning of Hamas, Fatah, Hizbullah and the treatment of Palestinian Christians by Palestinian Muslims? NOWHERE in the piece! As the implementation of Sharia Law continues to grow in the Middle East (and globally as well) as a result of the Arab Spring, dhimmitude will increase and freedom will decrease as Radical Islam perniciously injects its barbaric ideology into western civilization. NONE OF THAT was reported, even though it is an integral part of the problem at hand!
     Simon spent quite a bit of time reporting on the security fence or "wall" which was built over the last decade and separates Israel from the West Bank. To my surprise, he accurately added:" The wall was built to stop Palestinian terrorists from getting into Israel, and it's worked, terrorism has gone down 90%". But he immediately followed by quoting West Bank residents in calling the area an "open air prison".
     I do find it very unfortunate that this wall had to be erected in the first place, separating people and rendering daily activities of Palestinians very difficult to say the least. Yet, with a success rate of 90% against terrorism, who would even consider not having a wall? In all fairness, we must not forget that the wall is as much of an eyesore from the kitchen window of a Palestinian in the West Bank as it is from the kitchen window of an Israeli from the other side.
     Towards the end of his report, Simon quotes a document called "Kairos Palestine" apparently drafted and endorsed by a group of Christian activists, and supposedly denouncing Islamic extremism and promoting "non-violent resistance" to Israeli occupation. Upon further reading of the 16 page declaration, it is rather obvious that, as it was penned in the spirit of ecumenism, and was also very one-sided towards Palestinians, thus eradicating all negative connotations about Palestinian Terrorism and promoting violence under the cloack of peaceful resistance. Consider what message they promote on their site as you watch this short promo video for BDS (Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions).
     The piece finishes with a bold rebuke of Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren by Bob Simon. At that point, Simon criticizes Ambassador Oren for contacting CBS ahead of airing the "60 minutes" segment. Simon claims that in all of his years of news anchoring, never was CBS asked to reconsider the airing of a show by somebody who "hadn't yet seen it". Ambassador Oren appeared to have information leading him to believe that the show wouldn't be a fair portrayal of both sides of the issue, so he felt compiled to contact the president of CBS, but unfortunately, he seemed caught by surprise when Simon accused him of speaking out of terms.
     What CBS and Simon promoted knowingly or not is called Christian Palestinianism and it unequivocally continues to delegitimize Israel's right to exist and right to the Land, as it is adopted by more and more people including many evangelicals.
     Real followers of Yeshua (Jesus) cannot ignore the tension and hardships that exist in the Middle East. We cannot ignore the fact that many people are unnecessarily suffering in that region and that we must work together towards a true reconciliation meaning that both side need to be in a positive, peace seeking dialogue. Frankly, I don't see that really happening until Yeshua (Jesus), the real Prince of Peace returns. But until then we still have a biblical obligation to love our neighbors and even to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us ( Matthew 5:44). True believers CANNOT DEMONIZE ISRAEL WITHOUT DEMONIZING GOD HIMSELF (Psalm 83:3-5):
They make shrewd plans against Thy people, And conspire together against Thy treasured ones. They have said, “Come, and  let us wipe them out  as a nation, That the  name of Israel be remembered no more.”For they have conspired together with one mind; Against Thee do they make a covenant.
     While "60 minutes" unashamedly spewed anti Israel propaganda in the name of "News Reporting" I, alongside those who read their Bible, denounce their bias and we rejoice with Israel as she celebrates the 64th Anniversary of her independence... AM YISRAEL CHAI! (The people of Israel live!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Remember the Holocaust Lest We Repeat History!

     On April 19th also known as the 27th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar (8 days before Israel's Independence Day), the worldwide Jewish community will commemorate Yom HaShoah (literally, the Day of the Catastrophe).
     While there is no standardized Jewish way to mark this solemn day, Jewish people around the world make a point to remember the memory of their loved ones in various ways. Israel will have all flags at half mast starting on the eve of Yom HaShoah, as well as a siren blast at 10 AM on the day of, for the whole country to come to a stop for 2 minutes. Additionally, a myriad of other official gatherings in synagogues, community centers and even in public arenas, will occur.
     For the rest of the world, Jewish communities will join spiritually by attending special services at the local synagogue where the memory of the victims, known or unknown, is brought to the attention of the community. It is not unusual to have a Holocaust survivor come an speak at such gatherings as well as have people read an endless list of names representing a small section of the 6,000,000 Jewish victims.
     The important part is the accurate propagation of the memory of "the Catastrophe" more than the method by which it is done.    
     We must understand that all genocides and attempts at ethnic cleansing are crimes against humanity that must be brought to justice. This being said, the Holocaust was a very unique event in the history of mankind, as it was the ONLY GENOCIDE that included a very thorough and meticulous system to exterminate European Jewry by hunting Jews down in most countries and bringing them back to the Death Camps for extermination. Escaping was near impossible and surviving was no small miracle!
     In April of 1945, as Nazi Germany was in collapse and World War II was nearly over, General Eisenhower and some American troops captured the German Camp of Ohdruf (a sub-camp of the extermination Camp of Buchenwald). While it would take the world weeks if not months to fully grasp the full dimension of the Shoah, within a week, Eisenhower requested for other officials and for members of the press to come to Ohdruf and witness the horrific crimes that he had just come in contact with. As Eisenhower saw it, it was critical to gather as many eyewitnesses as possible in order to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust and preserve the facts as facts. On page 223 of the book Dear General: Eisenhower's wartime letters to MarshallHe was quoted saying:“I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.'"
     Eisenhower compiled a report including pages upon pages of written evidence and thousands of pictures based on his personal experience, in hope to document the unspeakable and prevent it from happening again.
     Unfortunately, and against his heartfelt desire of keeping a painful but necessary memory alive, the Holocaust has been suffering at the hand of deniers, who prefer being known as "revisionists". They range from mild to severe in their attempt at delegitimizing the Holocaust and making it into exactly what Eisenhower was fighting against: "Jewish propaganda". The deniers can be found within Islam, liberal westerners and even in some rare cases among self-loathing Jews.
     On the eve of Yom HaShoah, I will not lower myself by listing the names of any of those who call the Holocaust a hoax, a Jewish propaganda or a "hick-up of history", simply because they do not deserve my attention.   
     These individuals do exist around the globe and as the survivors of the Shoah are rapidly disappearing from our world, these hateful Shoah negationists are gaining momentum. While it is still vastly unpopular to deny the events of the Shoah, I fear the day when political correctness will switch sides on the issue of the Shoah, and it will become unpopular to "offend" anybody with the " dubious retelling" of the single most heinous crime against humanity.
     The Shoah was not a hoax, propaganda or a hick-up of history!
     The 6,000,000 Jews who perished were all individuals with potential!
     One of them was Maurice Weinzveig my grandfather who perished in Auschwitz!
     In their memories and in the memory of the rest of them I will remember Yom HaShoah

"For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. 
For not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, 
we are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories"
                                                                     Elie Wiesel

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Emancipation of Antisemitism: Towards a Post-Merah France!

     Between March 11 and 19, 2012, France saw the murders of seven people in the Toulouse/Montauban region. The later part of these massacres included a rabbi, two of his children and one more young girl, all at an all-Jewish school in Toulouse. Within three days, the perpetrator had been identified as 23 year-old Mohamed Merah with ties to Al-Qaeda. Early in the morning of March 22nd, Mohamed Merah burst out his bathroom shooting his weapon all across the room at police officers as he jumped out of the window to his death.
     The French government, possibly motivated by the nearness of a presidential election, was rather responsive. In fact, French President Sarkozy immediately gave a statement praising the police and French government and presenting his condolences to the families of the victims. He closed his statement by saying:" Our Muslim compatriots have nothing to do with the crazy motivations of a terrorist".
     Mr. Sarkozy is currently walking on the very thin ice of an election year in the European country with the largest Muslim population (between 5-6 million). As much as he might want to tighten the grip on Islam and its blatant refusal to integrate the French Republic and communities, he must use extreme caution so as to not polarize a potential voting block. Simply stated, Mr. Sarkozy is between a rock called INTEGRITY and a hard place called COMPROMISE, so the safest move is to avoid confrontation and speak against unjustified discrimination of Muslims. In the meantime, Mohamed Merah is slowly becoming a victim, possibly a martyr and even worse yet, a hero!
     Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, gives us a different perspective about Merah that I unfortunately agree with. I say unfortunately because it simply posits that "justice was not served". In the case of Merah, instead of sending a rightfully sobering message to radical Muslims about France's zero tolerance of such acts, it allows for the perpetrator to be praised, elevated and even–at least in people's minds–exonerated. As a result, his actions have not become a red flag for the lethal components of radical Islam but an encouragement to follow Merah's model. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the aftermath of Merah's blood bath:

  • March 23rd: One day after the death of Merah, a teacher in Rouen, Normandy told her 12th grade class that Merah was a victim and that his link to Al-Qaeda was invented by the media and Sarkozy. The teacher was immediately suspended, yet damage was done!
  • March 26th: Five days after the massacre, a Jewish boy was beaten outside another Ozar HaTorah Jewish school in Paris.
  • March 30th: Four days later, Actor/Comedian Jamel Debouze from arab descent finds justification for Merah's actions in the difficult upbringing that his co-religionists have experienced in the Paris suburbs, while not a word is said by Debouze about the Jewish victims.
  • March 31st: Merah's brother, Rachid Merah is quoted telling the press: "You reap what you sow. They kill our children in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, they should recognize their responsibility. The minister of the interior has said that Mohamed was a monster...but I reply that they have created this monster that killed children." The French government is then held responsible by Merah's brother.
  • April 2nd: Only 11 days after the carnage and a man in Marseille is hit in the face as he exits a synagogue. Antisemitic slurs are yelled at him by his assailant.
  • April 4th: Two days later in Marseille, an 85 year old man is attacked by a North African man. He is pushed around and the perpetrator rips his Jewish star medallion from his chest after putting a knife to his throat. 
  • April 5th: A 35 year old man wearing a yarmulke is shot in the leg as he was walking on the street in Villeurbanne.
  • April 11th: Only 20 days have passed and in front of a synagogue in Garges les Gonesses, in the Paris suburb, an individual from the same origins as Merah screamed at Jewish worshipers:"Dirty Jews, I'll kill you all you dirty race". He then proceeded across the street towards a group of 3-year olds before being stopped and fleeing the scene. And on, and on and on!
     I could continue adding to this tragic list of antisemitic acts in France and actually add to them those acts committed all over Europe. But France is the "litmus test" by which the new antisemitism is being defined. The apparently "unspeakable" actions of Mohamed Merah are already not being spoken of anymore, at least not as symptomatic of a deeply rooted problem of antisemitism. The Jew hatred displayed by Mohamed Merah has been brushed under the rug of political correctness, just in time for the elections at the end of April.
     Of the nearly 400 acts of antisemitism perpetrated in 2011 and recorded by the BNVCA (French National Monitoring Office Against Antisemitism) , ALL WERE DONE BY MUSLIMS. Not to mention hundreds more NOT reported to the authorities!
     Mohamed Merah was not a victim, a martyr or a hero, HE WAS A TERRORIST! An act of antisemitic terror that should be used as a deterrent is ending-up becoming an encouragement for more of the same and the French are looking the other way. 
     How long before any "other way" you look at is another breeding ground for radical Islamist hatred? How long before the next act of antisemitic carnage in France, Europe or the USA? 
     So not so quick, please Mr. Sarkozy! In the case of Radical Islam, the West's tolerance is simply cowardice! The West must speak up for the truth! We must fight back!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When Jews are Antisemitic!

     I recently returned from the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism 2012 North American Conference in San Diego where I had the opportunity to present a paper on "the New Antisemitism: Perpetrators and By-Standers of the 21st century". While I made an effort to categorize the 21st Century players on the current platform of Antisemitism, I did not include one particular group either in the perpetrators or in the by-standers. That group can be described as "self-loathing Jews". It was and still is very painful for me to admit that my own people could turn against Israel and the Jewish people. Yet, as preposterous as it is, this wouldn't be the first time that we witness Jews turning against their own people.
     For instance, last year I shared about a strange group of "Orthodox Jews" known as Neturei Karta (although in that context, orthodox needs to be redefined as opposed to the standard definition meaning a rigorously practicing Jew). This anti-Zionist fringe group started in 1938 cannot be ignored and is a disgrace to Judaism, yet for the most part it is not taken too seriously by mainstream Jews.
     What causes me some grief is the section of the "self-loathing Jews" that comprises mostly members of the Jewish left who vehemently lobby against Israel, the Land and the People. The organization known as JStreet, (founded in 2008), made mostly of liberal Jews (and some non-Jews as well) promotes itself as "The political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans". They believe in and boldly promote a "two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". As anyone browses the JStreet website, it gives an appearance of peace seeking and reconciliation. In reality, they show contempt for anything Jewish and associate themselves with organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and personalities so despicably to the left  like Ilan Pappé (son of German Jews who escaped the Holocaust), that they end up painting themselves in a politically correct and multicultural corner, using their own antisemitic brush.
     JStreet receives the support of US House of Representative first Jewish woman member, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz who was recently appointed 52nd Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
     Wasserman-Schultz, who is also the Democratic Party Jewish Outreach liaison was caught in a controversial Facebook photo depicting her and other women as "Jewbags" kissing dollar bills. I sincerely doubt that mainstream Jews will have any desire to associate themselves with a "Jewish" woman ridiculing the Jewish people as lovers of money. We certainly don't need anymore fuel added to the fiery diatribes of the last 2000 years!
     "Self-loathing Jews" do not hate themselves as Jews but rather, they work hard at rejecting their customs and heritage in an effort to advance towards a more tolerant and "all encompassing" future. Mainstream Judaism appears way too narrow to leftwing Jews. They certainly wouldn't consider themselves antisemitic but rather prosemitic (as in Jews AND arabs).
     The tolerance they espouse is based on a very false premise that all groups tolerated equally reciprocate, which is hardly a fact when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbollah and the likes.
     When it comes to the two-state or one-state solution including Palestinians, the outcome will inevitably be the takeover of Israeli government and institutions to the point where the annihilation of 6 million Israeli Jews would just become a simple bureaucratic move.
     Dear self-loathing Jew, If you don't want to recognize Israel's sovereign right to the land and the Jewish people's right to live in peace in the only democracy of the Middle East as well as the rest of the world, do the rest of us a favor, DON'T CALL YOURSELF A JEW because your are causing your forefathers to roll over in their graves!
     Real Jews support Israel!
     Real Jews support their Jewish Community!
     And incidentally, I cannot help but proclaim that I have never felt more fulfilled as a Jew than since I have found my Messiah Yeshua (Isaiah 53:5, Romans 4:25, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Yeshua (Jesus) the Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us and any reconciliation between men will only come when men are first reconciled to God through Yeshua.