Beyond the Cusp

November 28, 2010

Obama Succeeds Changing Palestinian Israeli Relations

During the campaign and after taking office, President Obama placed changing the environment of the stagnant Palestinian Israeli Peace Process. His initial idea of pushing the Israelis to freeze building past the Green Line, even including around Jerusalem, definitely pushed the Peace Process into virgin territory. Despite the Israeli comprehensive building freeze, against the better judgment of many in the ruling coalition, had the affect of hardening the position of the Palestinians who adopted an attitude of noncooperation holding out for additional concessions. The end result of President Obama’s radical activist intervention was new hope for the Palestinian leadership who saw the potential for their dreams to be answered, finally have an American President who was placing new pressures and demands on Israel while not requiring reciprocal concessions from them. When after almost the entire ten month freeze had expired and it became apparent that no additional demands were forthcoming on the Israelis, Mahmoud Abbas met once in Washington where there was a great shaking of hands, then refused to further meetings until the freeze was extended indefinitely.

Since the expiration of the building freeze, which the Israelis fulfilled their entire commitment despite the ineffectiveness, there has been extensive maneuvering by both sides, making moves, stipulating positions, demanding concessions, pressing Obama to impose on the other side, standing on presumptive principles, expressing disappointments and claiming intransigence by the other side. Despite more heated friction between the two sides, they have hardened their positions and none of the heat generated has warmed the possibilities for peace. The appearances of give and take has mostly turned out to be more grabbing and attempting to take than even the slightest instance of giving. All of this frantic flurry of fakes and feints has resembled the Keystone Cops more than skillful negotiations by an experienced diplomatic corps.

The latest volleys released from each side have included demands that are more posturing than actual honest expectations. The Palestinians insisted that the building freeze be extended for as long as the negotiations were continued. Israel countered with extending the freeze for a set number of months providing the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish State. The Palestinians stood firm that such recognition was absolutely beyond the pale. The Palestinians opened the next salvo demanding that Israel guarantee the return to the Green Line 1948 armistice lines. Israel restated their intent to never again divide Jerusalem, stating it is their eternal indivisible capital. The Palestinians claimed the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem, once again declaring their Muslim roots and denying the validity of any Jewish historical claims.

While this vortex of accusations and demands continued, the United Nations refused to be denied their moment in the limelight. UNESCO stepped forward declaring Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs to be Mosques with no Jewish history or significance. Not to be outdone, the Palestinians followed this up claiming the Kotel, the Western Wall, was built as part of the al-Aska Mosque further stating that there was no archeological evidence to the contrary. Then, this past week the United Nations General Assembly voted to schedule another Durban Conference to be held in New York on September 21, 2011, ten days after the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The stated agenda for the tenth anniversary of the Durban Conference is to revisit the agenda from the first Durban Conference held in Durban, South Africa where the Muslim and Arab countries supported by the non-aligned nations, numerous nations from Africa, and a plethora of NGO’s convicted Israel of responsibility for virtually every ill in the history of mankind, or at least since 1948. Also vilified at the first Durban Conference was the United States in particular, and the West in general. There was absolutely no mention of any other country having participated in any criminal activities or violence.

All in all, since President Obama took to the world stage to repair America’s image and bring peace to Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East, and end human suffering wherever it was to be found, the world sure has changed. We have Lebanon on the brink of war, North and South Korea in the initial stages of war, the world economy in a total and complete shambles, anti-Semitism reaching levels not seen since World War Two, Iran at the cusp of becoming a nuclear power, and America’s image in the world reaching all time lows. President Obama sure has succeeded at far more than simply changing Palestinian Israeli relations, but the question is are these changes heading the world in the right direction?

Beyond the Cusp

November 18, 2010

Clinton State Department Declares War on Israel

Some might say that using the word “war” is being overtly dramatic and alarmist. I’m not sure what other word would be appropriate when the State Department releases a report on religious freedom and equates the Israeli record with the likes of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Perhaps if we took apart their individual arguments, then some light might shine and reveal the truth.

The preface to the report states, “Religious freedom can be restricted in a variety of ways, from the overt to the subtle.” OK, so exactly what were the Israeli supposed crimes and exactly how subtle were they? Were they so subtle as to more likely be nonexistent or are the Israelis one of the most devious peoples on the face of this Earth?

The first act of Israeli violation of religious freedoms is reported as Israel restricting its laws to closely align and maintain a status-quo that strictly respects Jewish legal standards. Another complaint was the refusal of Israel to allow three Messianic Jews to use the Right of Return Law to emigrate. This is a stretch of the concept of the Right of Return, which allows for Jews to emigrate without much of the usual paperwork and tedious procedures. The State Department is using deceit and slight of wording to imply that Messianic Jews are included as Jews by this law. Messianic Jews are in fact Christians, as they believe that Jesus was the Messiah, thus they are not truly Jews, thus not covered by the Right of Return.

A couple of other complaints were that Israeli identification cards differentiate between Jews and non-Jews and that for Jews who wish to marry or be buried with a religious ceremony, they must meet the more strict Orthodox Laws pertaining to determining whether they meet requirements set forth by Torah. These restrictions do not apply to other religions, only those seeking the religious blessing and services. Nowhere are these restrictions placed upon non-Jews and all religions are granted freedom of worship and full rights as citizens of Israel, including voting, owning land, employment, and virtually everything else in one’s normal life. The one glaring exception is that only Jews and the Druze, who insisted they be treated equally with Jews in this obligation, are required to perform military service. Muslims and Christians are not required to perform military service but are completely free to sign up and serve in the military should they choose.

Then comes the most deceitful and slanderous claim of the entire report. The State Department, in what can only be called hateful intent, claims that the 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law is solely enforced by the Israeli government for Jewish religious sites and complete disregard is shown to religious sites of other religions. How the State Department can claim this while the Muslim Waqf is granted complete control over the Temple Mount and Jews are forbidden any religious activity and often simply barred from the holiest part of Jerusalem and Israel. The Catholic Church is given total control, rights, and even ownership of the numerous holy Christian sites, churches, monasteries and the like. Other Christian groups are given the same measure of autonomy over their religious sites throughout Israel. History has shown that only since the reunification of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War has total religious freedom been granted to all faiths to their holy sites in Jerusalem and the areas of Judea and Samaria. Further proof of the high esteem and value the Israeli government places on other faiths’ holy sites was represented by the great care and avoidance of causing any damage to the Church of Nativity when a number of Palestinian terrorists holed up inside, holding numerous priests and others hostage and desecrating the church, drinking the sacrificial wine, destroying bibles and prayer books, and stealing precious artifacts, especially ones made of precious metals such as gold and silver or with gems inserted or mounted upon them.

This is an affront to Israel in particular, and to all who support Israel, both Christian and Jew, and is tantamount to an American version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This inclusion of Israel amongst some of the most repressive regimes in the world is a grievous insult once again by the Obama Administration to one of America’s staunchest allies. It is simply the latest example of President Obama reaching out to Muslims in any and every way possible, especially at the expense of Israel and the Jews. Where some will simply call this another example of our Arabist State Department, this affront goes even further and sends a chilling message to both Israel and those Jews and Christians who support Zionists and Zionism and the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. Israel is the only sanctuary that can be claimed as a permanent refuge for Jews once persecution and anti-Semitic hatreds again rise throughout the world and threaten their communities.

Beyond the Cusp

November 13, 2010

The Synod of Dhimmitude

The recent Synod called by the Vatican of the leaders of the Eastern Church and all the Christian denomination related or accepted to Catholicism from the Middle East was a very revealing occurrence. The final liturgical statement by Archbishop Cyril S. Bustros was, to say the least, quite disturbing to me as a Jew and a Zionist. The Archbishop’s statement that the Jews could no longer use Old Testament Biblical claims to verify the legitimacy of their claim to the Promised Land is ludicrous, not even the small part existing as a sliver of land bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Another claim by the Archbishop was that there was no longer a particular Chosen People, definitely the Jews could no longer lay claim as the Chosen People since the beginning of the Church through Christ, all people now made up the Chosen People and no group or individual was any more special than the next. Still another claim made by the Archbishop was that G-d no longer could be claimed to support any group, especially if said group called on G-d to support them in times of conflict as G-d no longer supported anything outside of passivity as G-d was now solely was a G-d of love, peace, justice and mercy.

The good Archbishop decried the use of G-d’s name in support of both Muslim and Israeli (Jewish) violence. He admonished the mutual aggressors from each side claiming that G-d would no longer support the violence committed by either the extremist Muslims or the extremist Jews. Through this claim, Archbishop Cyril S. Bustros equated Israeli defensive and muted use of force in defense of her people with the offensive use of murderous suicide attacks, daily rocket firing on civilians, often times to coincide with both start and end of the school day to catch as many children in harms way as possible, kidnappings and hostage taking, stoning motorists from overpasses, ambushing motorists who enter predominate Muslim neighborhoods, and all the other faces of the Jihad against the Jews and Israel. This use of moral equivalence placing Jewish actions on par with terrorist actions performed as part of Jihad has been proven to be disingenuous and, more often than not, anti-Semitic.

Archbishop Cyril S. Bustros oft made references that called into doubt the Old Testament and all but claimed it to be no longer have any measure of validity while casting no aspersions upon the Quran. The Archbishop pointedly made the argument that Israel could not claim to be a Jewish State as religion should play no role in the Israel Palestinian dispute. While making the demand that Israel not be allowed to be a Jewish State as such an option has no place in today’s problems, he made no similar comment about the numerous Muslim States that use religion as their claim for relevance. The above are a partial list of the sincere inequalities used to describe the problems for Christians in the Middle East.

The entirety of blame for any problems faced by Christians in the Middle East were placed at the foot of Israel with almost complete immunity granted Muslims. I would like to list one last prejudicial comment that many might not notice, or if noted, not granted much weight of importance, but it is important as it exemplifies the base problem with the slant of the entire report issued by the Synod. When making the claim that the State of Israel must not be allowed to be built upon the ruins of a Palestinian society, the Archbishop made the point that the Palestinians had resided in the area of Israel for centuries while implying that the Jews were new arrivals in the area. In truth, there has been a Jewish presence, and often majority, in the area that is today Israel, for over three thousand years. Furthermore, the vast majority of the Arabs and Muslims living in the area are the recent arrivals that came after the initial influx of returning Zionist Jews, which gained significant momentum from the early to mid 1800s. The Arabs and Muslims arrived once the early Zionists began to revitalize the land and the economic health of what had been a deserted wasteland for almost one thousand years. To be honest, largely the Jews have been the indigenous population and the Muslims and Arabs are the recent immigrants.

Beyond the Cusp

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