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As Easter approaches, Israel’s UN ambassador warns of “the Middle East war on Christians,” rising persecution in Islamic countries. Notes that Israel’s Christian population is growing.

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

crossAs Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter this week, Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, has written an excellent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on the intense persecution followers of Jesus Christ are facing in Islamic countries.

He notes that there is an “exodus” of Christians leaving the Middle East today, just as Jews had to flee many Arab countries in the 20th century. That said, he also points out that Israel “is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today, in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.”

I commend the article to your attention, and encourage you to share it with others.

THE MIDDLE EAST WAR ON CHRISTIANS

Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews.

By Amb. Ron Prosor, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2014

This week, as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday, they are commemorating the Bible’s Exodus story describing a series of plagues inflicted on ancient Egypt that freed the Israelites, allowing them to make their way to the Holy Land. But over the past century, another exodus, driven by a plague of persecution, has swept across the Middle East and is emptying the region of its Christian population. The persecution is especially virulent today.

The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East’s population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.

In the rubble of Syrian cities like Aleppo and Damascus, Christians who refused to convert to Islam have been kidnapped, shot and beheaded by Islamist opposition fighters. In Egypt, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood members burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way they once obliterated Jewish synagogues. And in Iraq, terrorists deliberately target Christian worshippers. This past Christmas, 26 people were killed when a bomb ripped through a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in Baghdad’s southern Dora neighborhood.

Christians are losing their lives, liberties, businesses and their houses of worship across the Middle East. It is little wonder that native Christians have sought refuge in neighboring countries—yet in many cases they find themselves equally unwelcome. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-thirds of Iraq’s 1.5 million Christians have been driven from their homes. Many settled in Syria before once again becoming victims of unrelenting persecution. Syria’s Christian population has dropped from 30% in the 1920s to less than 10% today.

In January, a report by the nondenominational Christian nonprofit organization Open Doors documented the 10 most oppressive countries for Christians; nine were Muslim-majority states noted for Islamic extremism, and the 10th was North Korea. These tyrannical regimes uphold archaic blasphemy and defamation-of-religion laws under the guise of protecting religious expression. In truth, these measures amount to systematic repression of non-Islamic groups.

Last year in Saudi Arabia, two men were prosecuted for the “crime” of converting a woman to Christianity and helping her flee the Islamic kingdom. According to the Saudi Gazette, one of the men, a Lebanese, was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes, and the other man, a Saudi, was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes. Those are relatively mild sentences in Saudi Arabia, where conversion to another religion is punishable by death.

The “justice system” in other Islamic nations is not particularly just for Arab citizens, but it is uniquely oppressive for Christians. Radical Islamists in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa are using an ancient law called the “dhimmi pact” to extort local Christians. The community is faced with a grim choice: pay a tax and submit to a list of religious restrictions or “face the sword.”

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressions of political dissent are regarded as acts of blasphemy. Last summer, three Iranian Christians caught selling Bibles were found guilty of “crimes against state security” and sentenced to 10 years in prison. They were relatively lucky. The regime has executed dozens of people for the so-called crimes of “waging war against God” and “spreading corruption on Earth.”

The scene unfolding in the Middle East is ominously familiar. At the end of World War II, almost one million Jews lived in Arab lands. The creation of Israel in 1948 precipitated an invasion of five Arab armies. When they were unable to annihilate the newborn state militarily, Arab leaders launched a campaign of terror and expulsion that decimated their ancient Jewish communities. They succeeded in purging 800,000 Jews from their lands.

Today, Israel, which I represent at the United Nations, is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today, in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.

From courtrooms to classrooms and from the chambers of Parliament to chambers of commerce, Israeli Christians are leaders in every field and discipline. Salim Joubran, a Christian Arab Israeli, has served as a Supreme Court justice since 2003 and Makram Khoury is one of the best-known actors in Israel and the youngest artist to win the Israel Prize, our highest civic honor.

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest living in Israel, recently told me: “Human rights are not something to be taken for granted. Christians in much of the Middle East have been slaughtered and persecuted for their faith, but here in Israel they are protected.”

Nations that trample on the rights of their people sow the seeds of instability and violence. The uprisings that have erupted across the Middle East are evidence that the region’s Holy Grail has become the pursuit of freedom, democracy and equality. Let us hope that this quest bears fruit before it is too late for the region’s remaining Christians.

Mr. Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

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>> Report on my meeting with Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S.

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UPDATED: Here is video of the Fox News interview I did last week. One segment is on “The Auschwitz Escape.” The other is on the breakdown of the Mideast peace talks.

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Discussing "The Auschwitz Escape" on the Fox News Channel.

Discussing “The Auschwitz Escape” on the Fox News Channel.

(Washington, D.C.) — On Saturday, Fox News Channel anchor Uma Pemmaraju interviewed me for two segments.

Here is the video of us discussing the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Here is the video of us discussing The Auschwitz Escape and the true stories that inspired the novel, including the fascinating story of the evangelical Christians in Le Chambon, France, who rescued many Jews during the Holocaust.

Hope you find them interesting.

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Growth or Implosion? The case for abolishing the toxic tax code & starting over.

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm

implosion-softcover(Washington, D.C.) – As readers of this blog know, I generally write about trends in Israel, the Middle East and Russia. But because I love the United States, I feel compelled to write today about how much trouble we are in economically and one set of changes we urgently need to make.

Today is Tax Day, the day all Americans are required to send in our federal income tax forms to the IRS and pray to God we didn’t make a mistake. What an utter disaster our current federal tax code is. As one Congressman put it, our tax code is ten times longer than the Bible with none of the good news. It’s long, complex, confusing, and a magnet for lobbyists all trying to carve out a deal for themselves. It forces Americans to spend six billion hours a year — that’s right, six billion hours — filling out tax forms, and to stay up worrying at night that they’ll get dragged into an audit, or worse.

We can do better. Indeed, we must if we’re ever going to get America back on the right track. It’s time for our nation to come together around bold, sweeping tax reform that will unleash the great potential of the American people, get this economy roaring again, severely reduce the power of the IRS, and drain the cesspool of corruption in Washington.

Ultimately, tax reform is not primarily an economic issue but a moral one. The current system is creating a terrible drag on our economy and suffocating the creation of millions of good, high-paying jobs. But it is also punishing marriage, children, work and savings.

Tax reform should be a bipartisan issue. The vast majority of Americans want to scrap the toxic IRS code and replace with a new system that is pro-family and pro-growth. So let’s get to it.

After all, the stakes are high. If we don’t pass serious tax reform soon, we won’t be able to get our economy growing at full strength. Millions of people will remain unemployed or under-employed. Real wages will stay stagnant or fall. We won’t be able to afford a military strong enough to protect ourselves, our allies or our vital national interests around the world. We won’t be able to honor our promises to the Greatest Generation via Social Security or Medicare. We won’t be able to balance our budget or stop borrowing from the Chinese.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are good ideas from good leaders on the table that could help us turn things around.

  • A new poll commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers show overwhelming bipartisan support for bold tax reform.
  • Steve Forbes — for whom I used to work as the director of policy and communications — continues to make a solid case for the Flat Tax.
  • Former Senator Rick Santorum – who won eleven states and four million votes in 2012 — has an excellent op-ed out today on the need for bold tax reform and the principles that should drive the debate.
  • Many other serious leaders — including Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – are making the case for serious reform, as well.

In the end, America needs a Third Great Awakening — a sweeping moral and spiritual revival — not just economic growth. But we need growth and opportunity, too.

Here are excerpts from the non-fiction book I wrote in 2012, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?

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The Road to Reform . . . ?

Some experts and think tanks believe there is still time to turn things around. At least two have laid out detailed reform plans worth considering.

Congressman Paul Ryan has developed his “Roadmap for America’s Future.” This detailed legislative proposal cuts tax rates and simplifies the tax code to reignite economic growth. It cuts and restrains federal spending. It reforms Social Security and Medicare in ways that protect the existing system for current retirees and those close to retirement while also improving the system for younger workers. For example, Ryan proposes the retirement age be gradually and incrementally increased from sixty-five years old to seventy years old, since people are living and working longer. He also proposes that younger workers can invest some of their current payroll taxes into tax-free personal retirement accounts that permit low-risk investments in mutual funds and annuities. The Ryan plan also includes specific details to balance the budget and reduce federal debt—all, presumably, before an implosion of the American economy occurs.[i]

The Heritage Foundation has also released a very detailed reform plan. It’s called, “Saving the American Dream: The Heritage Plan to Fix the Debt, Cut Spending, and Restore Prosperity.” While the principles are similar to Congressman Ryan’s plan, some of the specifics are different. Both plans call for fully repealing “ObamaCare,” and both create personal retirement accounts within the Social Security system for younger workers. However, while the Ryan plan calls for simplifying the federal tax code from its current six marginal tax brackets [NOTE: at the time I wrote Implosion, there were 6 rates; now there are 7] down to just two (a 10 percent rate and a 25 percent rate), the Heritage plan calls for a single flat tax (the rate is not yet determined). Whereas the Ryan plan would hold spending at 19 percent of GDP, the Heritage plan would restrain spending to 18.5 percent of GDP.

The Heritage plan was designed to balance the federal budget by 2021 and reduce the national debt to 30 percent of GDP by 2035. By contrast, because the Ryan plan phases in some of the reforms more gradually than the Heritage plan does, the “Roadmap” does not bring the federal budget into balance until after 2055. That may seem like a long time—and it is—but the Ryan plan should be compared not only with the Heritage plan but more importantly with the fact that President Obama has not laid out a reform plan of his own. Under the current trajectory, the Congressional Budget Office projects deficits as far as the eye can see through the twenty-first century. Without significant changes, the budget will never be balanced in our lifetimes. Worse, the CBO indicates that the national debt will hit a horrifying 185 percent of GDP by 2035.[ii]

Overall, the Heritage plan is much bolder than the Ryan plan, but there are various policy and political challenges to both. What remains to be seen is whether the American people have the stomach for either plan or a variation of one of them. The point is not that one plan is necessarily better than the other. The point I want to make here is that there are at least two serious, credible plans on the table right now that show us in specific ways how we can boost economic growth, create more jobs, reform our entitlement systems, and get ourselves back on the road to fiscal sanity before we implode. Perhaps others will develop bold, creative, and compassionate plans that will improve upon what Congressman Ryan and the Heritage Foundation have offered. I hope so. The more serious ideas in the mix, the better. There is still a way out of this mess, and that is good news, but the window to get started on such reforms is rapidly closing.

. . . Or the Road to Ruin?

If we don’t make desperately needed reforms, then we are most certainly on the path to ruin. Indeed, we could be on the road to Greece.

“America is on the road to re-creating Greece’s recent debt crisis,” noted business magazine Barron’s in a 2011 issue. “If a country as small and removed as Greece could generate the tremors that it did in the past year, how much worse would a national debt crisis be in the world’s largest economy?”[iii]

The article notes that “Greece, the world’s 27th-largest economy, is a minor player, even in the European Union. Yet a budget deficit of 13.6 percent of gross domestic product spiked its overall debt to 115 percent of GDP. Its debt fell to junk status, and it stood on the edge of bankruptcy. Only the massive May 2010 bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund pulled it back from the brink.”[iv]

Citing sobering data from the Congressional Budget Office, Barron’s warned, “If you think debt problems like Greece’s can’t happen here, think again. . . . [Soon], U.S. debt will hit 132 percent of GDP—well above Greece’s 115 percent. Government spending will consume almost one-third of everything America produces—a level only reached at the height of World War II. Even raising taxes to their greatest ratio to the economy in America’s history wouldn’t offset the automatic spending machine. . . . Washington is on the road to Greece.”[v]

Bottom Line

America in 2012 owes more than $15 trillion to a range of creditors, many in foreign countries, including Communist China.

[NOTE: That was true when I wrote Implosion; but today our national debt is over $17 trillion.]

That’s bad enough, but it gets worse.

Most Americans don’t even realize that we owe another $57 trillion to cover a range of “unfunded liabilities,” including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. America’s most respected financial experts—both Republicans and Democrats—are warning us that such staggering levels of current and coming debt could trigger an economic implosion unless we rapidly and courageously make fundamental and sweeping reforms. The good news is that at least two detailed and compelling reforms have been proposed.

Two key questions emerge. First, does Washington have the courage to follow those plans or variations on them? And second, will Americans reward or punish political leaders in Washington for pursuing such reforms?

As important as those questions are, however, there is another even more important question: Will the Lord give us the time we need to make these changes—however difficult and painful they would be—or will he simply choose in his sovereignty to let America implode financially?

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[i] Ryan, “A Roadmap for America’s Future,” http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/Plan/#budgetreform.

[ii] See Butler et al, “Saving the American Dream.” The Heritage plan quotes CBO projections extensively.

[iii] J. T. Young, “The Road to Greece,” Barron’s, January 22, 2011, http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424052970203676504575618561763058500.html.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

Report on my meeting with Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S. this morning. @AmbBouran

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm
Meeting with Her Excellency Alia Bouran, Jordan's Ambassador to the U.S.

Meeting with Her Excellency Alia Bouran, Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S.

(Washington, D.C.) – This morning I had the honor of meeting with Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Her Excellency Alia Bouran, at the Jordanian Embassy here. She is a lovely and gracious woman, and an experienced diplomat – having previously served in Brussels and London – and I enjoyed our conversation a great deal.

With the Ambassador’s help, I am hoping to visit the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan soon to meet with various leaders and get a fresh look at the enormous challenges facing the Kingdom, including the influx of more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.

I have been to Jordan numerous times and have fallen in love with the country and its people. The Kingdom has a vibrant Christian community. It also has a rich Biblical heritage, with fascinating historic sites like Mount Nebo where Moses died, the site where the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, and the remarkable Petra, which some scholars believe will play a role in Bible prophecy. Indeed, I believe God has a very special place in His heart for this country.

Christians around the world need to be praying faithfully for Jordan’s King Abdullah II, his government, and the people of Jordan. They are strong allies of the United States and the free world and work with us on many economic, social and security issues. They have signed and maintain an important peace treaty with the State of Israel. They are vital players in trying to help forge a true and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. His Majesty has also taken a strong stand against the extremists in the region who are perennially trying to kill Muslims, Jews and Christians and sabotage any prospects for peace and prosperity.

At the moment, I’m doing research for a future book in which Jordan plays a significant element. I’ll keep you posted on my upcoming trip and how it goes.

UPDATE: Jordan’s Ambassador to Libya was kidnapped this morning. Please pray that he would be released and returned to his family and nation safely and quickly.

>> Who to watch in 2014 — King Abdullah II of Jordan

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Three Christians killed by former KKK leader in Jewish Community Center shooting rampage in Kansas. Please pray for those grieving.

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm
Mindy Corporon, the daughter & mother of two of the victims, speaks to reporters. "I know they are in heaven together."

Mindy Corporon, the daughter & mother of two of the victims, speaks to reporters. “I know they are in heaven together.”

(Washington, D.C.) — My heart is broken for the family and friends of those who were brutally murdered in Kansas, and for the Jewish community there, as well. Please join me in praying for them amidst one of the most horrific acts of intended anti-Semitism in the U.S. in recent memory.

As it turns out, three Christians, not Jews, were the ones shot and killed by a former senior KKK member at a Kansas Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement center on the eve of Passover. 

Authorities quickly apprehended the shooter — who yelled “Heil Hitler!” as he was arrested — and he is being held on first degree murder and federal hate crimes charges.

Dr. William Corporon, a medical doctor, and his grandson, Reat, were murdered in the rampage. They were both Protestants and from a devout Christian heritage.

“William Lewis Corporon was a man of strong faith. His father was a Christian minister, and so was his grandfather,” reported the Kansas City Star. “Reat, a Boy Scout in Troop 92 who had 22 merit badges and was working to become an Eagle Scout, was a bright and enthusiastic student who loved to sing and act. He competed in seven debate tournaments in the first semester of his freshman year at Blue Valley High School.”

“I know they are in heaven together,” said Mindy Corporon, the daughter of William and the mother of Reat.

Thus far, the name of a Catholic woman also killed has not been released by authorities.

  • “My heart and prayers are with all those who were affected by today’s events,” said Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a strong Christian (and personal friend), who is known as pro-Israel and very supportive of the Jewish community. “We will pursue justice aggressively for these victims and criminal charges against the perpetrator or perpetrators to the full extent of the law.”
  • “On the eve of the Passover holiday, where Jews around the world celebrate the festival when the ancient Israelites broke the shackles of tyranny, the Jewish community of Kansas City was struck by a tyrant,” said Rabbi Marvin Heir, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization.
  • “We condemn the murders, which according to all the signs were committed from hatred of Jews. … The state of Israel together with all civilized people is committed to fighting against this plague,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • President Obama also spoke out against the crimes.

Again, please keep praying for the families and friends of those killed who are grieving their losses this day. Please also pray for the members of the Jewish community who have been traumatized by this vile act of anti-Semitism.

“The suspect in the Passover Eve killings of three people at two Jewish community centers near Kansas City is a former Ku Klux Klan leader with a history of spewing vitriol against Jews, law enforcement officials said on Monday,” reports Reuters. “Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, faces local and federal prosecution on hate crime charges after his arrest on Sunday for a shooting spree that killed a teenager and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center, and a woman visiting her mother at a nearby Jewish retirement home….None of the victims was Jewish. The boy and his grandfather were members of an area Methodist church and the woman attended a Catholic church.”

Excerpts:

  • Cross, of Aurora, Missouri, had a prior criminal history and was known by law enforcement and human rights groups as a former senior member of the KKK movement and someone who had long made public comments against Jewish people, according to the FBI.
  • Both the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate group, and the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) have tracked Cross, who also goes by the name Frazier Glenn Miller, for years. The groups say he was involved in creating an armed paramilitary organization in North Carolina 20 years ago.
  • The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said Cross is a “raging anti-Semite” who has posted online commentaries that include “No Jews, Just Right” and calls to “exterminate the Jews.”
  • Cross is a former leader of both the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, groups aimed at the unification of white people, targeting African Americans and others for intimidation, according to the SPLC. He served time in prison on weapons charges and for making threats through the mail, the group said.
  • The IREHR said he idolizes Adolf Hitler.
  • “His worship for Hitler and Hitlerism is real,” said Leonard Zeskind, president of IREHR, in a statement issued Monday.

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New poll finds 62% don’t trust President Obama to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons.

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2014 at 4:09 pm

MEME-obama-Iran(Washington, D.C.)  — As the Obama administration continues making a series of missteps in foreign policy, Americans are losing confidence in their Commander in Chief.

From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Syria’s use of chemical weapons to the Benghazi situation in Libya and the near-breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Americans do not see the White House and State Department  providing strong, steady, principled, bipartisan leadership. Rather, they see confusion, weakness, and vacillation.

Now a new poll finds that a significant majority of Americans are anxious that the President cannot be trusted stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, one of the most important national security issues facing the U.S., Israel and our Arab allies.

As we geared up for the release of The Auschwitz Escape, my publisher, Tyndale House, and I commissioned a national survey to help us better understand how Americans view the current geopolitical issues in light of the history of the Holocaust. 

Working with McLaughlin & Associates, a nationally respected polling firm, we asked 1,000 likely U.S. voters numerous questions. One of them was: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ‘As a result of President Obama drawing a red line on the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but then refusing to take military action when chemical weapons were used, I do not have confidence that when Mr. Obama says he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon that he can be trusted to keep his word’?”

The results were sobering.

  • 62.3% of Americans agreed with the statement, saying they do not trust the President to stop Iran from building The Bomb
  • 30.5% of Americans disagreed with the statement, and do trust the President to stop Iran
  • 7.2% said they don’t know

Americans’ distrust of the President is of particular concern given that 80% of the public says they fear a “Second Holocaust” — the annihilation of the six million Jews in Israel — if Iran gets The Bomb. What’s more, 68% of Americans say they fear a “nuclear holocaust” here in the homeland if Iran is allowed to build nuclear weapons.

I will provide more analysis of this in the days ahead.

Meanwhile, here are some of the other results of the poll we have released so far:

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>> Read the column I recently wrote for CNN.com with fmr. Senator Rick Santorum — “Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb”

>> Read the attack on our column by an Iranian government official — Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

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Kerry blames Israel for collapse of peace talks. Ridiculous. This is part of a troubling pattern of this White House alienating America’s friends & appeasing our enemies.

In Uncategorized on April 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Secretary John Kerry.

Secretary John Kerry.

(Washington, D.C.) — UPDATED: Over the past year of the peace talks, Israel has consistently taken practical, concrete steps to show goodwill, including releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom were terrorists with blood on their hands.

Israel took such measures even though Palestinian terrorists have continued to fire rockets and missiles at innocent Israeli civilians over and over and over again.

What practical, concrete steps did the Palestinian leadership?

The sad fact is that Mahmoud Abbas gave concrete nothing in return.

What’s more, he outright refused to even consider recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Then he embarked on unilateral steps to create an independent Palestinian state in direct defiance of the terms of the peace process which call for a negotiated settlement. Then he refused to continue the peace talks beyond the April 29th deadline without Israel releasing thousands of more prisoners.

Yet now Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Israel for the breakdown of the talks. Consider the latest headlines:

This is ridiculous, bordering on the infuriating. Netanyahu appointed good people to negotiate in good faith. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the chief negotiator, is not exactly a right wing Likudnik. She is part of Israel’s center left. She wanted a deal. She worked hard for a deal. Yet she became increasingly frustrated by the resistance of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to bring serious ideas and compromises to the table, and then had to speak out when Abbas decided to sign 15 international treaties to unilaterally creating a Palestinian state.

“The past week wasn’t a good week and we will have to fight to see how we can correct and move forward,” said Livni on Israel’s Channel 2 news. “It isn’t simple. It’s very complicated. This is a real crisis.”

Bloomberg reports that “Livni called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ bid last week to join international bodies ‘a violation and a big mistake that will make it very difficult to go back to normal.”

When Abbas has burned Tzipi Livni — a woman deeply committed to a two-state solution — you know things have really gotten bad.

Yet once again Kerry is blaming Israel.

Sadly, this is part of a troubling pattern of the Obama administration alienating America’s friends and appeasing our enemies. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have invested enormous amounts of time in trying to force enormous Israeli concessions to create a final peace deal with the Palestinians, even though everyone told them the Palestinian leadership was not prepared to deal seriously. Yet the most important mission in the Middle East right now is stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons, yet the White House and State Department are treating Iran with kid gloves.

As former Senator Rick Santorum and I stated last week:

What troubles us most is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat. The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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>> On April 7th, 1944, two men escaped from Auschwitz. 70 years later, novel inspired by real events is a best-seller — click here to learn more.

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Report on my meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to discuss the Holocaust & the rising Iran nuclear threat.

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2014 at 3:53 pm
Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday — on the 70th anniversary of the escape from Auschwitz by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler – I had the opportunity to meet privately with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at his office in the Capitol.

I gave him a copy of The Auschwitz Escape and shared with him  some of the true stories that inspired the novel.

We discussed how Vrba and Wetzler got out, and why their report, “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was so important in telling the world the truth about what the Nazis were really doing to the Jews. I also shared with him the remarkable heroism of the evangelical Christians of Le Chambon, France, who risked their lives to rescue more than 5,000 people from the Nazis, including more than 3,000 Jews.

We also discussed the growing Iran nuclear threat, and how best to stop Iran before they can attempt to perpetrate a Second Holocaust.

Rep. Cantor is Jewish and a fellow Virginian. As I reported in this column, he recently made his first visit the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland with a group of Israeli Members of Knesset in January.

The following month, Cantor delivered a major speech speaking of the lessons of the Holocaust and warning of the dangers of the isolationism.

It was interesting to hear him share his impressions of his time at Auschwitz, and to discuss the latest developments with the Iranian nuclear threat.

I did not ask the Majority Leader for anything. I wasn’t there to lobby him in any way. Rather, I simply wanted to share with him some of these true stories, thank him for going to Auschwitz, and encourage him to keep reminding Americans how important it is to act decisively to stop evil early, before it can metastasize.

Please keep Leader Cantor in your prayers, and pray that he will be a positive influence on the rest of the House of Representatives on these vital issues.

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>> Read the column I recently wrote for CNN.com with fmr. Senator Rick Santorum — “Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb”

>> Read the attack on our column by an Iranian government official — Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

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“Why Palestinians Should Learn About the Holocaust.” An important op-ed I encourage you to read and share with others.

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2014 at 8:05 pm

NYT_home_banner(Washington, D.C.) — This excellent column was recently published in the New York Times. It was written by Robert Satloff and Mohammed Dajani Doudi. I commend it to your attention.

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Should Palestinian and other Arab schools teach their students about the Holocaust?

This is not an academic question. Many Palestinian and Arab political organizations recently pounced on reports that a new human rights curriculum being prepared for use in Gaza schools operated by Unrwa, the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees, might include historical references to the Holocaust. Their reaction underscores the urgency of answering this fundamental question: Should Palestinians (and other Arabs) learn about the Holocaust? Should this historical tragedy be included in the Arab curriculum?

We — a Muslim-Palestinian social scientist, and a Jewish-American historian — believe the answer is yes. Indeed, there are many reasons why it’s important, even essential, that Arabs learn about the Holocaust. And much of this has nothing to do with Jews at all.

One of the sad realities of many modern Arab societies is that Arab students have been denied history, their own and the world’s. For decades, millions of Arabs have lived under autocrats resentful of the legacy of the leader they replaced and fearful of the leader-to-come. Although Arabs revere the study, writing and teaching of history, and have produced many famous historians, their rulers often tend to view history as a threat. The result is that many historians in Arab countries are more like the court chroniclers of long-dead dynasties, and entire chapters of history have been expunged from the curricula that Arab governments teach their students.

This is particularly true of the Holocaust. A world that has known terrible atrocities has seen none greater than the effort by Nazi Germany and its allies to exterminate the Jewish people. So methodical, so vicious and so exhaustive was the Nazi effort that a new word was coined to describe it — “genocide.” All genocides before and since are judged against the Holocaust. To the extent that we can prevent genocide in the future — an uphill task, given the record of the last few decades — understanding what gives rise to it is essential. Without discussing the Holocaust, discussing genocide is meaningless.

But Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, know little about the Holocaust and what they do know is often skewed by the perverted prism of Arab popular culture, from the ranting of religious extremists to the distortions of certain satellite television channels to the many ill-informed authors. What happened to the Jews during World War II is not taught in Arab schools or universities, either as part of world history or as a lesson in genocide awareness or as an atrocity that ought not to be repeated. Arabs have nothing to fear from opening their eyes to this chapter of human history. As the Koran says: “And say: My Lord, advance me in knowledge.” If Arabs knew more about the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, perhaps Arab voices would be more forceful in trying to stop similar atrocities.

Palestinians have more specific reasons to learn about the Holocaust. We do not urge Holocaust education just so Palestinians can understand more sympathetically the legacy of Jewish suffering and its impact on the psyche of the Jewish people. While it is important for both Palestinians and Israelis to appreciate the historical legacies that have shaped their strategic outlook and national identities, teaching Palestinians about the Holocaust for this reason alone runs the risk the feeding the facile equation that “the Jews have the Holocaust and the Palestinians have the Nakba.” We urge Palestinians to learn about the Holocaust so they can be armed with knowledge to reject the comparison because, if it were broadly avoided, peace would be even more attainable than it is today.

With all the suffering Palestinians have endured, their struggle with Israel is still, at its core, a political conflict, one that can end through diplomacy and agreements. Today diplomacy is deadlocked, yet the nature of politics is that tomorrow that reality may change. The Holocaust was not a political conflict: the very idea of a “Nazi-Jewish peace process” is absurd. Teaching the Holocaust to Palestinians is a way to ensure they do not go down the blind alley of believing their peace process with Israel is as hopeless as one would have been between Nazis and Jews. Discussion of the Holocaust would underscore the idea that peace is attainable.

Almost two years ago millions of Muslim Arabs listened carefully when President Barack Obama, speaking in Cairo, respectfully recited sentences from the Koran and proclaimed America’s endorsement of a two-state solution to achieve a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Few, however, remember that he also condemned Holocaust denial. Now that the Arab masses are applying the universal lessons of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in taking down their authoritarian governments, it is time they take back the learning of history, too. That includes teaching their children the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi is the founder of the Wasatia movement, which promotes moderation in Islam, and the director of the American Studies department at Al-Quds University. Robert Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute and the author of “Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands.”

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On April 7th, 1944, two men escaped from Auschwitz. 70 years later, novel inspired by real events is a best-seller.

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Vrba-Wetzler>> Novel inspired by actual escapes from Auschwitz at #11 on New York Times bestseller list

(Washington, D.C.) — Seventy years ago today, two men pulled off the greatest escape in human history — from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland.

Most of the world doesn’t know their names, but we should.

Rudolf Vrba was only 19 when he escaped Auschwitz. Fred Wetzler was only 25.

They are my heroes. They executed their ingenious plan on April 7th, 1944, and not simply to save their own lives, but to tell the world the truth about what Adolf Hitler was really doing to annihilate the Jewish people. They risked their lives to proclaim the truth, and in the process they helped save more than 100,000  Jewish lives.

It is their stories that inspired me to write The Auschwitz Escape. Now this novel has already hit the New York Times bestseller list, and the Publishers Weekly list, and the USA Today list after just being released It seems to be resonating with the American people, and I’m encouraged that these men and their stories are getting the attention they deserve.

Now here is more on what they did….

REMEMBERING FOUR HEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST

By Joel C. Rosenberg

To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.

In 1933, the world was blindsided by the rise of Adolf Hitler. 

In 1939, it was stunned by the German invasion of Poland and the Nazi leader’s bloodthirsty quest for global domination. Perhaps most tragically, most of the world did not understand Hitler’s plan to annihilate the Jews until it was almost too late.

Today, we face dangerous new threats from Iran, North Korea, and a rising czar in Russia, not from Germany. Yet curiously, in recent weeks Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have each warned that as we confront current challenges we must be careful to learn the lessons of history regarding how the world failed to understand the threat posed by Hitler and the Nazis and deal with it decisively, before events spun out of control.

I agree, and as an example, I would point the extraordinary events that occurred in the spring of 1944. 

Four men pulled off the greatest escapes in all of human history, from a Nazi death camp in southern Poland. They did not simply escape to save their own lives. Nor did they escape merely to tell the world about a terrible crime against humanity that had been – and was being – committed. What set these true heroes apart is that they planned and executed their escapes in the hope of stopping a horrific crime before it was committed – the extermination of the Jews of Hungary.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of these escapes, and to draw attention to the significance these unknown – or unremembered – events, and the lessons they have to teach us, I recently wrote a work of historical fiction, The Auschwitz Escape. I changed the names of key figures involved so as not to put words in their mouths that cannot be verified to be their own. But it is my deepest hope that the book will cause many to dig into the real history of these remarkable heroes.

Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler were Slovak Jews. They escaped from Auschwitz on April 7, 1944.

[NOTE: In the novel, I explain exactly how they did it, what supplies they needed, what their escape route was, how they outfoxed the guards, etc. -- an extraordinary story.]

Arnost Rosin was also a Slovak Jew. Czeslaw Mordowicz was a Polish Jew. Together they escaped from Auschwitz on May 27, 1944.

Upon making it safely to Czechoslovakia, Vrba, only 19 years old, and Wetzler, 25, linked up with the Jewish underground. They explained Auschwitz was not simply a labor camp, as most thought, but rather a death camp. The Nazis were systematically murdering prisoners, mostly Jews, using poison gas called “Zyklon B,” then burning their bodies in enormous ovens.

The men explained the Nazis were dramatically enlarging an expansion camp a few miles from Auschwitz called “Birkenau,” building new train tracks, enormous new gas chambers, and massive new crematoria. They had also completed ramps leading all those arriving in the cattle cars directly into the gas chambers.

Vrba and Wetzler said they had heard SS guards talking about Hungarian “salami” that would soon be arriving. They knew from their jobs as clerks in the camp that none of Hungary’s nearly 450,000 Jews had yet arrived, even though Jews from most of Europe had come already. 

They urged the Czech Jewish leaders to warn Hungarian Jews immediately so they would revolt and not get on the trains. They also urged that the Allied leaders be notified so they would mount an operation to liberate Auschwitz.

Both men were asked to separately draft detailed eyewitness reports. Their reports were then cross-checked, compiled into a single report, and then simultaneously translated into multiple languages.

Eventually, Mordowicz, 23, and Rosin, 30, escaped as well. When they got to Czechoslovakia, they wrote up reports of their own, which were added to the existing document. But all this took precious time the Hungarian Jews did not have.

The report, known as “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was sent to Jewish and Allied leaders in early June 1944. Excerpts were leaked to the press, creating an international uproar. But the Germans had begun deporting Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in massive numbers on May 15th. And “The Auschwitz Protocol” landed in the hands of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and their top aides just as the Allies were executing the D-Day invasion of Normandy and trying to liberate France.

On July 2nd, the U.S. began bombing Budapest. Admiral Miklos Horthy, the Nazi-backed Regent of Hungary, feared the air raid was in reprisal for the Jewish deportations. He ordered the trains halted. Thus, while, more than 300,000 Hungarian Jews had already been sent to Auschwitz and gassed, 120,000 more Hungarian Jews were saved from deportation and certain death.

Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian, would later note, “The Auschwitz Protocol” was responsible for “the largest single greatest rescue of Jews in the Second World War.”

That said, neither the U.S. nor the British military took direct action to liberate Auschwitz during the war. Nor did they bomb the train lines to the death camps, or bomb the camps themselves, as Jewish leaders had implored. 

When the Soviets finally entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, only 7,000 prisoners remained alive. More than 1.1 million had already been exterminated.

Why didn’t Washington and London take decisive action upon receiving detailed, inside intelligence? Couldn’t they have at least tried to stop the Holocaust, or at least disrupt it, knowing the hellish nightmare people in the camps were experiencing?

Historians have been debating this for years. Yet the issues are not academic. Today, our leaders also face urgent questions. 

Let’s consider just one. Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” It has threatened to create world without the “Great Satan” (aka, the U.S.), as well. The mullahs are actively developing the ability to build nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. 

Do we currently have inside sources giving us accurate intelligence on the state of Iran’s nuclear program? If diplomacy and sanctions fail, should the West take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the mullahs can set into motion a Second Holocaust? 

Rather than attack ourselves, should the U.S. support an Israeli preemptive strike? What are the risks of launching such a strike? What are the risks of delay? 

Would history forgive us if we wait too long and Iran strikes first?

The moral courage that Rudolf Vrba, Alfred Wetzler, Arnost Rosin, and Czeslaw Mordowicz demonstrated seventy years ago was extraordinary. They understood the nature and threat of evil, and they risked their lives to tell the world the truth. 

They deserve to be remembered and heralded by Jews and Christians and all who care about freedom and human dignity. 

We must never forget what they did, and why they did it. But we must also be ready to act wisely, bravely and decisively if a mortal threat rises again. For if we learn nothing else from the history of the Holocaust, we had better learn this: Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide.

(Note: this article was originally published by FoxNews.com on March 18, 2014)

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