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Standing with Israel

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It’s Not All Gloom and Doom

Whew! We made it through 2011…perhaps just by the skin of our teeth. As we enter the new year let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the current  “state of the world.” Since I’m not a prophet I won’t make any prognostications about what will happen in 2012. Those gloom and doom pronouncements are floating around all over the internet (usually with an agenda of some sort – sell products, solicit donations, attract devotees to some individual or group); it doesn’t pay to unduly focus on them or have a panic attack and go hide in a cave somewhere with ten years’ worth of food. Where to focus? I’ll tell you at the end of this article. Meanwhile, where are we at right now?

• The United States is now 15 trillion dollars in debt with 4.5 trillion added in just the last 3 years by a President and congress who love to spend other people’s money.

• Homegrown terrorism in the United States is growing. A Pew Poll of US Muslims has indicated some disturbing trends. Among native-born African-American Muslims, 11% have a favorable opinion of al-Qaeda, 16% say that attacking civilians can be religiously justified at least sometimes and 40% support extremism. In another study by Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi, only 19% of United States’ mosques do not teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism.

• Europe is still teeter-tottering financially and its leaders are concerned over its economic future as it enters 2012.

• Post-Christian Europe became noticeably more Islamized during 2011.

The Arab Spring has produced the very opposite of the “freedom” that media and government “talking heads” were promising, with Islamic pro-Shariah regimes coming into power.

• Iran has been flexing its muscles as it tested its first domestically produced nuclear fuel rod and tested a new medium-range surface-to-air missile, all in its race toward the goal of producing a nuclear weapon.

• A shocking article by Andrew McCarthy in Family Security Matters revealed that “that the Obama administration has turned to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’sleading jurist, to mediate secret negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.”

Sheikh Yusuf-al-Qaradawi

I have written about al-Qaradawi before. He is, without exaggeration, evil incarnate! “Qaradawi urges that Islam must dominate the world, under a global caliphate governed by sharia.” His view of the Jews, not just Israel or “settlers”, is straight out of classic Islamic writings:

This is what is told in the Hadith of Ibn-Omar and the Hadith of Abu-Hurairah: “You shall continue to fight the Jews and they will fight you, until the Muslims will kill them. And the Jew will hide behind the stone and the tree, and the stone and the tree will say: ‘Oh servant of Allah, Oh Muslim, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!’ The resurrection will not come before this happens.” This is a text from the good omens in which we believe.

Al-Qaradawi believes this? Some impartial mediator!  What could the administration possibly hope to gain by the intervention of a barbaric monster who is still living in the seventh century? The scary thought is – perhaps their intent isn’t to advance American interests. America is the “great Satan,” you know.

• Finally, here in Israel, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is still working on unity talks with Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Why bother to come to the negotiating table with “evil Israel” when you can come to the negotiating table with a “terrorist organization.” On top of that, Abbas has just appointed General Mahmoud Damra to the post of special presidential advisor for district affairs. Damra has the dubious distinction of being one of the 1,027 terrorists released as part of the Gilad Schalit exchange. He was directly involved in several attacks that claimed Israeli lives.

OK already, the state of the world is bleak, and 2012 won’t be a year for the faint-hearted. But, as I said earlier, to focus on the craziness will do nothing but make us crazy or depressed. Where to focus? On the One who is ultimately in charge of everything. His solution to the world’s dilemma is much too simple for most people to grasp but it’s guaranteed to work, whether on an individual or national level…and here it is…

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2Chronicles 7:14

The Handwriting on the Wall

The year is approximately 540 BCE. Belshazzar, king of the great Babylonian Empire is hosting an opulent feast for 1000 of his lords. Oriental monarchs frequently indulged in extravaganzas like this one with the sole purpose of showing off their wealth, their power, their wives or anything else they could think of to make others think they were the greatest human beings (maybe even bordering on the divine) to ever walk the earth. But Belshazzar made two fatal mistakes. First, he was so mesmerized  by the myth he had created about himself that he was oblivious to the storm that was brewing around him. Even worse – he messed with the God of Israel. He and his entourage decided it would be a really cool thing to bring out the gold cups and other vessels that had been looted from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and use them to toast the power of the king and the greatness of his pagan gods. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote what was, to all those assembled in the hall, an unintelligible message. The mood in the room changed from drunken festivity to utter terror. The only one able to interpret the message was the prophet Daniel. This is what it said…

God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it
    You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting
    Your kingdom has been divided… (Dan. 5:26-28)

That very night the king was assassinated and his kingdom was handed over to others.

Is the handwriting on the wall of our world today? Are our leaders, like King Belshazzar, blithely going along, too enchanted by the fantasies of their own making to pay attention to the looming catastrophe that may not be as far in the future as many of them hope? More direly – are more and more people and nations messing with the God of Israel? Scripture warns, he who touches you (Israel and the Jewish people) touches the apple of His (God’s) eye. (Zech. 2:8)

• Is a worldwide cataclysm brewing in Iran? A report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shows strong, “credible” evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Rather than being a shock, this was simply confirmation of facts that have been known but ignored or withheld for a long time. According to Caroline Glick, “Since Iran’s nuclear weapons program was first revealed to the public in 2004, Israel has provided in-depth intelligence information proving Iran’s malign intentions to the likes of Sarkozy, Obama and the UN.”    

Won’t sanctions and diplomacy work? NO! First of all, we’re not dealing with rational, albeit evil, political leaders. The Iranian mullahs and their puppet, Ahmadinejad, are demonically-driven, fanatical theocrats whose ambition is to bring about the apocalypse so that the long-awaited 12th imam will come to earth. No big deal if most of their nation perishes in the process!! And now it seems that they have China on their side. According to Fox News, “The Chinese-Iranian relationship has, in fact, been deepening over the last few years.”

So what are Israel’s options? Will she “go it alone” against Iran in what would be a very risky mission? Many feel such actions would precipitate a regional war involving Hezbollah and Hamas along with Iran. Analysts predict that in the event of such a war, the cost of a barrel of oil could dramatically rise to $175 – $200 a barrel. This would not only inflame passions against Israel but against the Jewish people as a whole. It doesn’t take much to arouse Jew-hatred these days. Remember Israel’s Operation Cast Lead offensive in December 2008/January 2009? What was a totally justifiable action meant to protect innocent civilians in the south of the country from incessant rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza  became an excuse for virulent world-wide demonstrations against the “hateful Jews”. For an excellent power point of the anti-Semitic repercussions of Cast Lead, click here and then click on General (in the right hand column and then click on January 2009 – In the wake of Operation Cast Lead). Then there’s this Youtube video of a female Hamas sympathizer in Fort Lauderdale screaming at Jewish people “go back to the oven.”

• Is the world poking God in the eye by their treatment of Israel and its leaders? No one claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is any kind of a prophet or a holy man – but he is the representative of the nation, and when he is the recipient of undeserved antagonism it’s a symptom of a deeper problem. While we hear empty rhetoric claiming, “Israel remains our important partner and key strategic ally,” the truth comes out from behind closed doors. The following exchange took place during a break at the G20 summit in Cannes, France. Presidents Sarkozy and Obama thought the mics were turned off and were having a confidential little chat about Bibi.

Sarkozy: “I can’t stand to see him any more, he’s a liar.”
Obama: “You are fed up with him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”
The White House refused to confirm or deny the exchange between the two.

Far from being an aberration, the above unscripted comment is part of a continual pattern of disrespect from President Obama. When Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the White House in March 2010, he was given third-world treatment. Obama followed that up at various times by outrageous demands. Israel should cease all construction in Judea and Samaria and in East Jerusalem, even on land that is not being contested. And Israel should begin discussions with the PA based on a return to the  pre-1967 borders, also known as the “Auschwitz Borders.” Obviously this is the most anti-Israel president the U.S. has ever had!

• Is the handwriting on the wall in the U.S.? Not yet to the extent that it is in Europe but universities, the institutions that are training the next generation of national leaders, reek with Jew-hatred.

On October 28 at Kent State University, Professor Julio Pino felt obligated to exercise his First Amendment right by shouting out “Death to Israel” at a lecture given by guest speaker, Ishmael Khaldi, a former Israeli consul official who is a Bedouin. Four days earlier Khaldi appeared at the University of Michigan where approximately 60 students walked out on his message. One of the leaders of the protest, Bilal Baydoun, was quoted in the Arab American News, our goal is to prevent someone like this from even arriving on campus in the first place and we feel confident that we will be able to accomplish this as we continue to spread awareness.” Free speech and free exchange of ideas on the university campus have become a thing of the past as Arab petro dollars increasingly flow in to fund these bastions of learning and as hard core leftists serve in tenured positions of power.

Pro-Islamic speakers can spout their venom with impunity at campus venues but even questions from the audience are carefully screened. When Gail Rubin, co-chair of the University of California Davis chapter of StandwithUs, a pro-Israel organization, attempted to challenge lecturer Professor Gilbert Achcar’s skewed opinion that the Grand Mufti’s (Haj Amin al-Husseini) anti-Semitism had only a minimal impact on both Jews and Arabs, two professors angrily told her “the questions were insulting and to either stop or leave the room.” As she described it, “So much for free speech and scholarly discourse in academia.”

• Incitement eventually leads to violence. This past Friday (November 11) residents of Flatbush, Brooklyn were awakened to find that three cars had been torched and the area had been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti.

The big danger in the western world is that it’s easy to become so comfortable or so involved in our daily lives that we simply pass everything off thinking things have to get better – it’ll all go away eventually. But maybe it won’t.

Shortly after Operation Cast Lead, Douglas Davis wrote an article in the Spectator entitled, The terrible warning of a Holocaust survivor:

As tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Europe, the chants are modified but the message remains substantially intact: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas — Jews to the Gas’. Or, more simply: ‘Death to the Jews’. Many European Jews, even well-established, affluent Jews, have been checking the suitcase they keep packed under the bed. They have been here before and many are (albeit reluctantly) reading the writing on the wall.

The writing on the wall may be a little more faint in the U.S., but perhaps it’s time we begin reading it.