Follow on Twitter @joelcrosenberg

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What did Netanyahu discuss with the President in the Oval Office? Stopping Iran. Here’s the latest.

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2014 at 7:38 am
President Obama talks to Israeli PM Netanyahu during an Oval Office meeting on October 1st. (Credit: YouTube/The White House)

President Obama talks to Israeli PM Netanyahu during an Oval Office meeting on October 1st. (Credit: YouTube/The White House)

Many issues have complicated the U.S.-Israeli relationship — and particularly the personal relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu — in recent years. The Palestinian issue. The future of Jerusalem. Settlements. Hamas and Gaza. But none have divided the two leaders more than how to deal with Iran.

Obama and Netanyahu have deeply divergent views of the urgency of the nuclear threat, and how best to stop Iran from building nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them. Now we are rapidly approaching the end game with the P5+1 talks with Iran. It is crunch time, and Netanyahu is worried that Obama is not worried enough. The Israeli premier is concerned that the President is too willing to make too many concessions to Iran, concessions that could make it easier for Iran to quickly build The Bomb.

Many issues were touched on in Wednesday’s Oval Office meeting. But none so important as the Iran issue. Here’s a sampling of the coverage from major media outlets:

(Reuters article) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly told U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday that he must make sure that any final nuclear deal with Iran does not leave it at the “threshold” of being able to develop nuclear weapons.

Even as Netanyahu pressed Obama over Iran in White House talks, the president urged the Israeli leader to help find ways to prevent Palestinian civilian casualties like those inflicted in the recent Gaza war between Israel and Hamas militants.

Netanyahu’s visit was clouded by word of Israel’s approval of the planned construction of more than 2,600 settler homes in mostly Arab East Jerusalem.

The White House said the matter came up in the leaders’ closed-door talks and warned that it would draw international condemnation, “poison the atmosphere” with the Palestinians as well as Arab governments and call into question Israel’s commitment to peace.

Meeting for the first time in eight months, the two leaders, who have a history of strained relations, avoided any direct verbal clash during a brief press appearance and even seemed in sync over the fight against Islamic State militants.

But they were unable to hide their differences on some of the issues that have stoked tension between them.

Underscoring Israeli misgivings at a critical juncture in nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Netanyahu made clear that he remains at odds with Obama about the course of international negotiations with Israel’s regional arch-foe.

“As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power,” Netanyahu said. “I firmly hope under your leadership that would not happen.”

The crux of the U.S.-Israeli disagreement is that Netanyahu wants Tehran completely stripped of its nuclear capability, while Obama has suggested he is open to Iran continuing to enrich uranium on a limited basis for civilian purposes.

While Netanyahu put the emphasis on Iran, Obama was quick to focus on the bloody 55-day Gaza conflict, which ended in August with no clear victor. This followed the collapse of U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and Palestinians in April.

“We have to find ways to change the status quo so that both Israeli citizens are safe in their own homes and school children in their schools from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well,” Obama said.

The Obama administration had backed Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas cross-border rocket fire, but also voiced rare criticism of Israeli military tactics as Palestinian civilian casualties mounted.

The conflict killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza health ministry. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed.

THINKING ‘OUTSIDE THE BOX’

Netanyahu said he remained “committed to a vision of peace for two states for two peoples,” but he did not offer any path toward restarting negotiations.

Instead, he suggested there was a need to “think outside the box” and recruit moderate Arab states to advance peace in the region, though he offered no specifics. Palestinians have dismissed this approach as a bid to circumvent direct talks.

Within hours of the talks, both the White House and State Department blasted Israel’s housing decision, reported by the anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now, to move forward on the settler housing project slated for construction since 2012.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest declined to speculate whether disclosure of the settlement plan was timed for Netanyahu’s Washington visit.

The Obama administration has repeatedly urged a halt to settlement expansion.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after its capture in the 1967 war, when the West Bank and Gaza were also seized. Citing Biblical roots, Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim not recognized internationally.

The leaders showed no outward tension as they sat side-by-side in the Oval Office. Both were cordial and businesslike. The last thing the White House wanted was a repetition of a 2011 visit when Netanyahu lectured Obama on Jewish history.

But even with calm words, there was little doubt about the lingering differences.

Netanyahu was expected to use the Oval Office meeting to reiterate the warning he issued in his speech at the United Nations this week – that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat than Islamic State fighters who have seized swathes of Syria and Iraq. An Iranian U.N. delegate accused Netanyahu of “propagating Iranophobia and Islamophobia.”

Though Israel backs Obama’s efforts to forge a coalition to confront Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, some Israelis fear that world powers could go easy on Shi’ite Iran’s nuclear program so it will help in the fight against the Sunni Islamist group.

“The president made clear to the prime minister that regional events, including the need to destroy ISIL, won’t change our calculus on this issue,” said White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. “We must see concrete, verifiable steps that Iran’s program is exclusively peaceful.”

Netanyahu has cast Iran’s nuclear ambitions as an existential threat to Israel. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons. Israel is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal.

Iran and six world powers ended 10 days of talks in New York last week that made little progress toward a long-term agreement by a November 24 deadline.

President Obama admits U.S. “underestimated” rising threat of ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Here’s exactly what he said.

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm
Obama tells "60 Minutes" that US intelligence underestimated the ISIS threat. (source: CBS News)

Obama tells “60 Minutes” that US intelligence underestimated the ISIS threat. (source: CBS News)

For the last several years, President Obama and his top advisors told us over and over again that “al Qaeda is on the run,” and “we decimated al Qaeda.”

In January, the President dismissed ISIS — formerly known as “al Qaeda in Iraq” — as a “jayvee” team and not a serious threat in Iraq or a serious threat to U.S. national security. He said this even though ISIS forces had just seized control of the city of Fallujah days before the January interview with a reporter from the New Yorker.

But as numerous Mideast analysts, myself included, have repeatedly warned, the forces of Radical Islam have grown more powerful and more dangerous in recent years, not less so — and ISIS, in particular, is no “jayvee” squad. They are a vicious, battle-tested, barbaric terrorist organization. They are slaughtering Muslims and Christians throughout Iraq and Syria. They are beheading American reporters. They seek to conquer not only Iraq and Syria but Lebanon, Jordan and all of Israel. They want to build a global kingdom or “caliphate,” and ISIS leaders openly vow to attack America and raise their black flag over the White House.

As I have been researching and writing my forthcoming novel about the ISIS threat — THE THIRD TARGET — I have been astonished to see President Obama and his top advisors repeatedly dismiss the ISIS threat and refuse to take action until just within the last few weeks when they have begun to change course.

Now the President is admitting that the U.S. “underestimated” the rise and severity of the ISIS threat.

But is he really taking responsibility, or is he actually blaming American intelligence officials for underestimating the ISIS threat? Does he finally understand the magnitude of the threat and is he really willing to do all that is necessary to protect the American people and our allies and fully defeat ISIS, or is he talking big but taking half-measures?

You be the judge.

Consider the following excerpts from a CBS News report, and an interview with the President that aired on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening:

  • President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL) and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off the militant group in an interview that aired on 60 Minutes.
  • The president was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about comments from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. not only underestimated ISIS, it also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group.
  • “That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”
  • “Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said, blaming the instability of the Syrian civil war for giving extremists space to thrive.
  • The comments were among the president’s most candid to date about the rapid rise of the terrorist group that has ransacked much of Syria and Iraq in recent months.
  • “Essentially what happened with ISIL was that you had al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash with the help of Sunni tribes,” he explained. “They went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos.”
  • The group was able to “attract foreign fighters who believed in their jihadist nonsense and traveled everywhere from Europe to the United States to Australia to other parts of the Muslim world, converging on Syria,” the president said. “And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”
  • He said their recruitment has been aided by a “very savvy” social media campaign. He also blamed remnants of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s military, which were expunged from the Iraqi military after Hussein’s fall, for lending some “traditional military capacity” to the terrorist group.
  • “That’s why it’s so important for us to recognize part of the solution here is gonna be military,” he said. “We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fueling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters.”

Netanyahu at UN warns “militant Islam is on the march,” from Hamas to ISIS, but greatest threat is a nuclear armed Iran. Watch video or read full transcript of the speech here.

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 7:51 pm
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on Monday on the threat of "militant Islam" to his country and the world.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly on Monday on the threat of “militant Islam” to his country and the world.

UPDATED: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the opening Fall session of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday by noting that “militant Islam is on the march” and warning the leaders of the world that “to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle and lose the war.”

The Israeli premier cast the recent war with Hamas as part of the broader Radical Islamic jihad that is sweeping across the region from Gaza to Syria to Iran. But he stated that the greatest threat to his country and the world was a nuclear armed Iranian regime, or one that could rapidly produce nuclear warheads.

Netanyahu said he sees a new alignment of interests between Israel and moderate Arab nations in the region, and suggested such a realignment — involving common threats from ISIS, Hamas and an Iranian nuclear power — could help lead to a sustainable peace deal with the Palestinians.

“I want peace because I want to create a better future for my people,” Netanyahu told his fellow presidents and prime ministers.

He reached out to “Cairo, Amman, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and elsewhere,” noted the Times of Israel, and asserted that a rapprochement with Israel by such Arab players could in turn yield a peace agreement with the Palestinians, which, he also said, “will obviously necessitate a territorial compromise.”

“Israel wants to transform our common interests with moderate Arab states to a partnership that can facilitate peace with Palestinians.”

You can read the full text of the speech by clicking here. 

I will post analysis of it tomorrow.

You can watch the speech by clicking here.

Here are some of the key lines from the address that caught my attention:

  • “To defeat ISIS & leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power would be to win the battle & lose the war.”
  • “ISIS & Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. They share the same fanatical creed.”
  • “The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith.”
  • “Militant Islam is on the march. It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam.”
  • “What would your countries do if thousands of rockets were fired at your cities?”
  • “You wouldn’t let terrorists fire rockets at your cities with impunity.”
  • “Hamas deliberately put its rockets in hundreds of residential areas.”
  • “Israel was using its missiles to protect its children. Hamas was using its children to protect its missiles.”
  • “No other country and no other army in history has gone to greater lengths to avoid casualties among the civilian population of their enemy.”
  • “Hamas cynically used Palestinian civilians as human shields. Israel did everything to minimize Palestinian casualties.”
  • “Allowing Iran to reach nuclear capabilities will pose the greatest threat to us all.”
  • “A broader rapprochement between Israel and the Arab world may help facilitate Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
  • “Israel is prepared to work with Arab partners to confront dangers and seize opportunities.”
  • “There is a new Middle East. It presents new dangers but also new opportunities.”
  • “In any peace agreement I will always insist that Israel be able to defend itself by itself.”
  • “The UNHCR has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. The Human Rights Council has become the Terrorist Rights Council.”
  • Quoting Scripture: “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not be still.”

———————————-

Three threats to America, Israel & the Church in the Mideast. Video of my address at Moody Bible Institute.

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2014 at 7:08 am
Speaking at Moody Bible Institute's chapel on "Three Threats To America, Israel & The Church In The Middle East."

Speaking at Moody Bible Institute’s chapel on “Three Threats To America, Israel & The Church In The Mideast.”

It was an honor to be on the campus of Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago in early September. Several weeks ago, at the invitation of Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of MBI, and Dr. Michael Rydelnik, a professor and head of the Jewish Studies Program, I was invited to teach a class on the Holocaust, another class on modern Israeli politics and society, speak on an evening panel on “Israel & The Gaza Conflict,” tape two programs for Moody Radio. I also had the joy and honor of addressing the student body — some 1,600 future Christian leaders — one morning at chapel.

An excerpt:

Followers of Jesus Christ who love Israel and understand God’s Biblical plan for Israel must not be blind to the suffering in the Arab, Iranian, and Muslim world….nor deaf to their cries for help…..nor dull to the terror and tyranny they face.

We are witnessing a Radical Islamic offensive across the Mideast, from Gaza to Syria to Iraq.

Leaders in Washington and across the world have been slow to see, and slow to act.

But the Church must step up. We serve the King of glory. Our King was born in the epicenter. He died and rose again in the epicenter. He is coming back to the epicenter — and He’s coming soon.

So we must help our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in the Middle East. We must show Christ’s love and compassion to Jews, Muslims and Christians in the epicenter.

———————————-

Tale of two speeches: Palestinian leader at UN accuses Israel of “genocide” & “war crimes.” But Jordan’s King delivers moderate, peaceful, constructive address. Full texts & analysis.

In Uncategorized on September 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of "genocide" during speech to the UN General Assembly this week.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “genocide” during speech to the UN General Assembly this week.

UPDATED: This week in New York City, leaders from around the world are addressing the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly (GA). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently flying to New York to meet with President Obama and address the GA. His speech is scheduled for Monday. I will provide the full text and analysis at that time.

So far, speeches by two Arab leaders have drawn my attention. Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both addressed the GA in recent days. I would strongly encourage you to read both texts. The contrast between the two was stark.

Here are key excerpts from the speeches and a bit of analysis that I Tweeted out on Saturday:

  • Jordan’s King at UN: “Arab Christians are an integral part of my region’s past, present & future” & must be protected. Jordan’s King at UN: “Islam prohibits violence against Christians.”
  • Jordan’s King at UN calls ISIS “terrorists and criminals” and a “global threat” that must be defeated immediately.
  • Jordan’s King urges 2-state peace deal providing Israel “security” & respecting Palestinian “rights” & “dignity.”
  • Jordan’s King notes his country is caring for 1.4 million refugees from Syria & Iraq, needs more int’l assistance.
  • Palestinian President Abbas at UN repeatedly accuses Israel of “genocide” & “war crimes.”
  • Palestinian President at UN blames Israel for launching recent Gaza War & trying to undermine Palestinian Authority.
  • President Abbas at UN did not mention Israel’s arrest of 90+ Hamas members plotting to kill Abbas & overthrow PA.
  • President Abbas at UN did not mention that he recently called Hamas leaders “liars” & blamed prolonged war on Hamas.
  • Indeed, Palestinian President Abbas does not mention or discuss Hamas at all in his UN speech.
  • President Abbas in his speech said he comes to the UN this year “full of grief, regret and bitterness.”
  • Abbas twice says peace talks w/Israel are “impossible” & urges UN to set a timetable to force a final deal in Israel.
  • It is has indeed been a very painful summer for Palestinians in Gaza. Let us pray for The Lord to heal & comfort.
  • Stark contrast btwn speeches by King Abdullah & President Abbas. Former was peaceful & constructive. Latter was bitter & counterproductive.
  • Amidst enormous tensions in the Mideast, I believe it’s important Christian leaders listen carefully to voice of Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
  • Christian leaders may or may not agree w/all King Abdullah says, but Jordan is an island of moderation in sea of extremism.

—————————

BREAKING: Five Arab states join U.S. in military campaign to destroy ISIS. Jordan’s King Abdullah & former CIA Director Panetta give must-see interviews on ISIS to “60 Minutes.”

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2014 at 5:39 am
Must-see: Report on ISIS and key interviews with Jordan's King Abdullah II & former CIA Director Leon Panetta on CBS News' "60 Minutes."

Must-see: Report on ISIS and key interviews with Jordan’s King Abdullah II & former CIA Director Leon Panetta on CBS News’ “60 Minutes.”

(Seoul, South Korea) — The United States and a coalition of five Sunni Arab governments have just launched a coordinated military campaign to degrade and eventually destroy the Islamic State, a.k.a, “ISIS.”

The airstrikes represent a dramatic reversal of President Obama’s policy of refusing to get involved militarily in Iraq or Syria over the past several years despite the clear and growing threat of Islamic jihadists to U.S., Israeli and Arab national security.

Given that I have been researching and writing a new geopolitical thriller — The Third Target – about a New York Times reporter tracking the ISIS threat in Syria and Iraq (the novel will be published on January 6th), I am monitoring events in the region very closely. As the military campaign unfolds, I will offer analysis and links to news coverage.

I was also intrigued by an excellent report on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening about ISIS. The report included must-see interviews with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and former CIA director Leon Panetta. Both said the stakes are very high and that more should have been done earlier to stop ISIS. (See below.)

At the moment, my 17-year old son, Jacob, and I are in South Korea. We have been here for the last 10 days. Several Bible scholars and I have been teaching in seminaries and churches about God’s plan for Israel and the Jewish people, and the urgency of mobilizing the Korean Church to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and all the people of the epicenter. Soon, we will return to Israel and I will post reports on what we did and learned here in Korea.

In the meantime:

  • please join us in praying for U.S. and allied forces to have success in crushing ISIS.
  • please pray for the Lord to protect U.S. and allied forces as they engage the enemy.
  • please pray for Christians in Iraq and Syria who are being persecuted or even slaughtered by ISIS.
  • please pray for American and allied leaders to have wisdom to know how best to prosecute this military campaign.
  • please pray for The Joshua Fund leadership and staff to know how best to help our Arab and Kurdish brothers and sisters who are facing such grave danger — we are currently providing assistance to Christians fleeing from ISIS, as well as Arab Christians in Iraq and Lebanon who are caring for these refugees.

Here are excerpts from a New York Times article about the new military campaign against ISIS:

  • The United States and allies launched airstrikes against Sunni militants in Syria early Tuesday, unleashing a torrent of cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs from the air and sea on the militants’ de facto capital of Raqqa and along the porous Iraq border.
  • American fighter jets and armed Predator and Reaper drones, flying alongside warplanes from several Arab allies, struck a broad array of targets in territory controlled by the militants, known as the Islamic State.
  • American defense officials said the targets included weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings the militants use for command and control.
  • Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from United States Navy ships in the region.
  • The strikes are a major turning point in President Obama’s war against the Islamic State and open up a risky new stage of the American military campaign.
  • Until now, the administration had bombed Islamic State targets only in Iraq, and had suggested it would be weeks if not months before the start of a bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria.
  • Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes, American officials said, although the Arab governments were not expected to announce their participation until later Tuesday.
  • The new coalition’s makeup is significant because the United States was able to recruit Sunni governments to take action against the Sunni militants of the Islamic State. The operation also unites the squabbling states of the Persian Gulf.

———————————

60 MINUTES REPORT ON THE ISLAMIC STATE

The following are excerpts parts I & II of a report called, “The Islamic State,” which aired on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” on September 21, 2014. The correspondent was Scott Pelley. 

Excerpts from Part I

Today, America’s top military officer, General Martin Dempsey, said the U.S. and its allies will attack ISIS from many directions. “We want them to wake up every day realizing they’re being squeezed,” he said. American pilots have hit the Islamic extremist group in Iraq nearly 200 times now, and soon the U.S. will be bombing ISIS in Syria.

America was drawn back into war when ISIS began to overrun part of northern Iraq called Kurdistan. Kurdistan is semi-autonomous with its own military called the Peshmerga. With American air support, the Peshmerga are holding a tense front line against ISIS.

Earlier this month, we started our reporting on that front line to explain ISIS; what it is, where it came from and how it blitzed through two countries. In June, the leader of ISIS declared himself ruler of a new nation, which he calls The Islamic State….

……

Gunmen with cameras magnify the menace to make ISIS appear larger than life. But what ISIS has shown only once, is its leader. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared in July when he called on all of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to bow to him.

Derek Harvey: We should be very careful about underestimating him. This guy is the real deal.

Derek Harvey was in Iraq for the beginnings of al-Baghdadi. A colonel in U.S. Army intelligence, he briefed President Bush and top commanders. Back then, al-Baghdadi was a member of al Qaeda in Iraq and was imprisoned for a time by U.S. forces. When Iraq’s al Qaeda leader was killed, Baghdadi took over.

Derek Harvey: When he became a key figure within the organization, he was targeted and then in 2010 he had a $10 million bounty put on his head and he became a top tier target.

But the target slipped away into Syria, where he used the chaos of the civil war to build his army. He began to refuse orders from al Qaeda and in February, al Qaeda’s leaders kicked him out.

Scott Pelley: What does al-Baghdadi want?

Derek Harvey: He wants power, influence and authority and a return to the prestige of the Islamic community. And he’s going to start with Syria and Iraq and his strategic vision is to expand into the Gulf, Jordan. From the Mediterranean to Pakistan…

…..

How was the black banner carried so far? A third of Iraq, gone, in a matter of weeks, ground hard won by the United States in what was known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Scott Pelley: The American people sacrificed 4,475 lives, ten years and a trillion dollars building a government and an army for Iraq. How did all of that crumble so fast?

Leon Panetta: It’s a tragic story.

Leon Panetta was Defense Secretary when the U.S. walked off the Iraqi stage in 2011.

Scott Pelley: Back when you watched the stars and stripes being lowered for the last time in Baghdad, were you confident in that moment that pulling out was the right thing to do?

Leon Panetta: No, I wasn’t. I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq. The decision was that we ought to at least try to maintain 8,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops there, plus keeping some of our intelligence personnel in place, to be able to continue the momentum in the right direction. And frankly, having those troops there, I think would’ve given us greater leverage on Maliki to try to force him to do the right thing as well.

Excerpts from part II

The following are excerpts from the second part “The Islamic State” which aired on Sept. 21, 2014. The correspondent is Scott Pelley. .

President Obama’s plan hinges on arming and training moderate Syrian militias to defeat ISIS. The president has been criticized for not doing that sooner. You’re about to hear from two men who saw the threat early, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Jordan is a moderate, American ally, nearly surrounded by war, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its west, Syria to its north and Iraq to the east.

Today we spoke to King Abdullah in New York before this month’s U.N. General Assembly meeting. For hundreds of years, his family ruled the holiest shrines in Islam. And the king was nearly at a loss for words today when we asked him about the head of ISIS, who claims to lead all Muslims.

King Abdullah II: I hate to use the word “heretics,” whatever the words of those types are, but to even call himself a Muslim is to me is just words that I don’t want to use on this program.

Scott Pelley: You just used the word “heretic,” is he an Islamic heretic?

King Abdullah II: I think to use the word “Islam” and him in the same sentence is not acceptable. That he even speaks in the name of Islam for me is just so horrendous and so shocking.

The Kingdom of Jordan has borne the burden of the Syrian civil war even though it has no oil wealth and precious little water. We went to the border where, for three years, refugees from that war have risked death in the desert in the hope of reaching Jordan, where they are welcomed.

I support Gov. Huckabee & Penny Nance and their “Rally For Israel” on Oct. 5 in Washington. I also believe American Christians need to stand with Jordan and other Arab allies in their fight against terrorists and extremists. Please plan to attend.

In Uncategorized on September 13, 2014 at 2:23 am

StandWithIsrael-rally

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — Recently in Jerusalem, I had a quiet breakfast with Governor Mike Huckabee. Among other issues, we discussed how to mobilize more Americans to support Israel and urge the President and his administration to stand faithfully with Israel, America’s best friend and ally in the Middle East, as she faces threats on nearly all sides from Radical Islamic extremists. We also discussed the need to help Christians understand the importance of Jordan and other moderate Arab allies as they stand against terrorism and extremism.

The Governor graciously invited me to help him with a “Rally For Israel” at the U.S. Capitol on October 5th. I said I’d be happy to do so. This week here in Washington, D.C., I met with another co-sponsor, Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America and a long-time friend, to discuss the event and how I might be able to help.

Here are the details. Please plan to attend and bring many family and friends with you.

All summer, Israel has faced a jihadist offensive from Hamas, even as ISIS rampages across Syria and Iraq, and as Iran steadily moves towards the development and deployment of nuclear weapons. More than ever, it is important that we show our full support for Israel’s right and responsibility to defend herself, and our insistence that the President stop distancing himself from Israel and her leadership at this critical time. At the same time, we need to understand Israel is not the only one threatened. ISIS and other terror groups threaten Jordan, Egypt and of course the people of Syria and Iraq, not to mention Lebanon and the Gulf states. Standing with Israel doesn’t mean we don’t love the Arab people. Christians can and must do both.

Thanks so much.

GOVERNOR HUCKABEE AND PENNY NANCE ANNOUNCE RALLY FOR ISRAEL

Event Will Host National Speakers to Encourage Sound Defense of Israel and Reiterate America’s Duty to Protect Israel from the Threat of Radical Islam

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Sunday, October 5, 2014, Concerned Women for America and America Takes Action, Gov. Mike Huckabee’s C4 organization, will hold a rally in Washington, D.C., to show support for Israel. The rally seeks to highlight the threat of global terrorism and the movement in the Middle East to squelch the nation of Israel.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, said:

“Recent events have reminded me that the world is a very dangerous place to both the nation of Israel and for Jews around the world. The violence wrought by Hamas, coupled with the jaw dropping anti-Semitic reaction by much of the Western world, should awaken American Christians to the clear and present danger to our allies and our friends. Now is the time for us to stand firm and show Israel and her enemies that Americans are united in our unwavering support.”

Gov. Mike Huckabee said:

“It’s time for the United States to join together in prayer and support for Israel. I have been to Israel nearly 30 times over the past 41 years and have never seen the nation under such threat. Israel is our closest ally and friend in the Middle East, and they are suffering due to the weak policies of the Obama Administration. The president has done little to recognize the growing threat of Hamas. God has protected this tiny, but increasingly powerful nation, and it’s time for the United States to do the same. Please join me in Washington, D.C., on October 5 to show Israel that we are with them and we pray for peace.

Event Details:

Stand with Israel Rally
Date:
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST
Location: Upper Senate Park
200 New Jersey Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Upper Senate Park is north of the U.S. Capitol Building on the corner of New Jersey Avenue and Constitution Avenue.

Members of the media are invited to attend.

WHO:
Gov. Mike Huckabee
Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America
*Additional speakers to be announced as confirmed

WHAT: A rally to express the importance of support for Israel

WHEN: Sunday, October 5, 2014

WHERE:
Upper Senate Park
200 New Jersey Ave, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

RSVP: Registration is requested for the event. For more information or to register, click here.

What if ISIS obtains chemical weapons? Analysis of the President’s speech.

In Uncategorized on September 11, 2014 at 12:25 pm
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with members of the National Security Council in the Situation Room of the White House, Sept. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

>> See short video of me explaining why we are releasing my new novel about the ISIS threat — THE THIRD TARGET — earlier than planned because of fast-moving events (Jan. 6).

(Washington, D.C.) — On the eve of the anniversary of the terror attacks of 9/11, President Obama addressed the nation in a prime time televised speech on the threat posed by the Islamic State (aka, ISIS or ISIL) and how his administration plans to respond. Here is a transcript of his remarks. I encourage you to read what he said very carefully.

A brief analysis:

  • The President has now officially acknowledged that ISIS and its jihadist allies pose a clear and present danger to the American people, our economy, and our Arab and Israeli allies.
  • ISIS is part of a larger Radical Islamic jihadist offensive that is attacking Muslims, Christians and Jews and sweeping across Gaza, Syria and Iraq.
  • ISIS forces are beheading and crucifying those who stand in their way.
  • They are trying to topple the Arab governments of Iraq and Syria, and as I write about in my forthcoming geopolitical thriller — THE THIRD TARGET — they will soon try to attack a new objective. The questions are: Who, when, and how?
  • A serious concern I raise in the new novel is this: What if ISIS captures a cache of chemical weapons in Syria? Who would they try to wage genocide against — the U.S.? Israel? Someone else? And how much time do we have?
  • New reports indicate Syria may still have chemical weapons.
  • ISIS is training foreign fighters to penetrate the U.S. and Europe.
  • The U.S. is particularly vulnerable on our open southern border with Mexico.
  • The President’s speech last night represented an enormous flip-flop by President who earlier this year said ISIS was not a serious threat and called it “JV” (Junior Varsity), said he had “no strategy,” recently said he would “manage” the ISIS threat instead of defeat it, and has long opposed serious, sustained military action against ISIS.
  • Now he s suddenly changing course.
  • The President last night said: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents.”
  • This an astoundingly naive statement. The President is wrong. The Islamic State is Islamic. They are all Mulsims. They see themselves as Islamic and are recruiting Muslims.
  • Most Muslims are not violent. But jihadists are & highly dangerous and it is foolish not to acknowledge and understand the difference..
  • To win, it is essential that President & his national security team must understand the theology & eschatology of Radical Islamic jihadists.
  • That said, the President is finally signaling shift to a multi-year military campaign to “degrade and defeat” the Islamic State, so this is a move in the right direction.
  • Skeptics are understandably asking if the President is doing this simply because of his terrible poll numbers on his handling of foreign policy and national security issues generally, and his handling of the ISIS threat in particular.
  • That very well could be the case — but whatever the motivation, he is telling the nation and the world that he is committed to defeating ISIS, and this is progress.
  • It remains to be seen how serious the President is about pressing the offensive and trusting his military commanders and advisors to do the job right. But I am praying for the President to do the right thing. I am a critic of the President on the matter of ISIS and Radical Islam. But I do not want to be a cynic.
  • Finally for now, it is important to say that under the U.S. Constitution, the President must seek and receive Congressional authorization to launch such a long term war. That’s the only way forward and he must obey the Constitution.

———————-

To pre-order THE THIRD TARGET — which releases on Jan. 6 — please click here or go to your favorite book store.

We are moving up release of my new thriller about the ISIS threat, THE THIRD TARGET. It will be published on Jan. 6.

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

TheThirdTarget(Chicago, Illinois) — Tonight at 9pm eastern, President Obama will deliver a prime time address to the American people laying out a strategy to defeat the Radical Islamic jihadist group known as the “Islamic State” (or “ISIS” or “ISIL”) that is rampaging across the Middle East.

After dismissing ISIS as a “JV” (junior varsity) issue and not a serious concern for American security, and recently admitting that he had “no strategy” to stop ISIS, the President has done an about face. He seems to be finally coming to the conclusion — however slow and late — that ISIS does, in fact, pose a clear and present danger to America and our allies. I am praying for the President that he will say the right things tonight, and do the right things in the days ahead. I hope you will, too. This is a very serious threat to the American people and all the people of the Middle East.

Once I’ve heard his speech, I will comments on Twitter and here on the blog.

For now I want to let you know that Tyndale House Publishers and I have decided to move up the release of my next novel because it focuses entirely on ISIS and takes you inside Syria, Iraq, Israel and the White House as the jihadist threat unfolds in a terrifying way.

THE THIRD TARGET will be released on January 6, 2015 in hardcover, ebook format, and as an audiobook.

It is available for pre-order right now at your favorite bookstore, and online.

It was originally schedule to be released in mid-March of next year.

Here’s a brief description. I promise to post more details — including excerpts from the novel — in the days ahead.

“When New York Times foreign correspondent J. B. Collins hears rumors that an al-Qaeda splinter cell — ISIS — has captured a cache of chemical weapons inside Syria, he knows this is a story he must pursue at all costs. Does the commander of the jihadist faction really have the weapons? If so, who is the intended target? The U.S.? Israel? Or someone else? With tensions already high, the impending visit of the American president to the region could prove to be the spark that sets off an explosion of horrendous proportions. Knowing that terrorist forces are already trying to bring down two Arab governments in the region — Iraq and Syria — can Collins uncover the truth before it’s too late? Or will the terrorists succeed in setting their sights on the third target and achieving genocide?”

Given the danger and urgency of the moment, I hope you will pre-order the book and let your family and friends know about it. In the meantime, please pray faithfully that the U.S. and our allies will work together to stop ISIS and crush it before it’s too late. Thanks and God bless you.

Three threats to America, Israel & the Church in the Mideast. Notes from my address at Moody Bible Institute.

In Uncategorized on September 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm

MoodyBibleInstitute(Chicago, Illinois) — It was an honor to be on the campus of Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago on Monday and Tuesday. At the invitation of Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of MBI, and Dr. Michael Rydelnik, a professor and head of the Jewish Studies Program, I was invited to teach a class on the Holocaust, another class on modern Israeli politics and society, speak on an evening panel on “Israel & The Gaza Conflict,” tape two programs for Moody Radio, and address the student body — some 1,600 future Christian leaders — on Tuesday morning at chapel.

Here are my notes for the addressed I delivered at chapel: “Three Threats Facing America, Israel and the Church in the Middle East.” I hope you find them helpful.

—————————-

Thank you, Dr. Nyquist. It is an honor to be back here at Moody Bible Institute and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share with you. This morning, I’d like to discuss threat grave threats facing America, Israel and the Church and how we as followers of Jesus Christ are supposed to respond, according to the Scriptures.

Let’s begin by reading the first ten verses of Ezekiel chapter 33.

33 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’ Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.”

Ezekiel was a Hebrew prophet writing more than 2,500 years ago. He was part of the Jewish people that had been conquered and captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and were now living in the Babylonian Empire. And the Lord came to Ezekiel and called him to be a prophet — to hear the word of the Lord, and then to speak it to the people.

In this passage, the Lord says very clearly that He has raised Ezekiel up to be a “watchman” for the people. That is, his responsibility is to see threats and dangers that are approaching with God’s help and insight, and then warn the people about those coming dangers. He is also supposed to warn individuals about their sins, that they might repent of those sins and turn to the Lord with a humble heart for forgiveness.

But the Lord tells Ezekiel that it is not simply his job to be a “watchman.” The Lord will raise up and appoint other watchmen over time. And it is the responsibility of such watchmen to see threats and dangers and sins and warn the people, or they will be held to account by the Lord Himself.

Each of you are future Christian leaders. Each of you have come to Moody to study the word of the Lord and learn how to teach it to others. Each of you, therefore, has a responsibility to see dangers and threats and sins and to lovingly but honestly and clearly warn them to turn to the Lord before it is too late. It is a high calling and a great responsibility, and I urge you to take it seriously.

Today I want to briefly discuss three grave threats we all must see and understand and take action on:

  1. The threat that America is not just declining but imploding — and that our only hope is a Third Great Awakening;
  2. The threat that America and parts of the Church will turn against Israel & the Jewish people; and
  3. The threat that Christians in the West will ignore or turn a blind eye to the barbaric slaughter and terrible persecution of Muslims as well as Arab Christians in the Middle East by Radical Islamic jihadists like ISIS, Hamas, etc.

Let me now share a bit more on each point.

1. America is not simply in decline. We are heading for collapse, for implosion.

There are many reasons for this, including a massive and crushing national debt with no end in sight, the implosion of families through divorce and out-of-wedlock-birth and the assault on traditional marriage, violent crime, drug use, pornography and so forth. I wrote about this in more detail in my 2012 non-fiction book, Implosion: Can America Recover From Its Economic & Spiritual Challenges In Time?, so I won’t take the time today to go through each of these issues in detail.

But I do want to discuss one threat above all: America faces the implosion because we face divine judgment for murdering so many unborn children.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in Poland. As I stood in an actual gas chamber that was used to systematically murder so many Jews, political prisoners and others, it was a horrifying experience. I’m Gentile on my mother’s side, and Jewish on my father’s side, and standing there thinking about how the Nazis created these murder factories to kill six million Jews was one of the most painful experiences of my life.

But as I stood in that gas chamber, I could not help but think of how my own country, America — a country I love so dearly — has created murder factories to kill millions of people, as well. I was born in 1967. In my lifetime — since 1973 — the American people have legally murdered more than 55 million babies. If this is not stopped soon, we will reach 60 million. Think about that. If we really get to the point that our nation has systematically murdered 60 million human beings, we will have murdered 10 times more people than the Nazis killed of the Jews.

Now we know how God judged Germany and the Nazi regime through a crushing defeat in World War II, and we believe that the Nazis deserved such judgment. What do we think is going to happen if continue to murder millions of children? We are going to face the judgment of God. It is extraordinary that it hasn’t happened already.

There is hope, but we are running out of time. We could repent as a nation. We could turn from our wicked ways, plead with God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive our sins, and plead with Him to heal our land.

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

This was specifically a promise given to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. But it is a principle we can apply today. We could plead with God for forgiveness, and He could grant it. He could give us a sweeping series of revivals that could culminate in a Third Great Awakening, with hundreds of millions of Americans — beginning with the Church — repenting of our sins, turning to Christ, praying, fasting, reading God’s Word and seeking to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is possible. There is hope. But again, we are running out of time.

But let’s be clear: Without a revival, we are on the road to implosion. Indeed, the threat of implosion is far beyond what the next President or Congress can solve alone — we desperately need a Third Great Awakening.

Will you and I faithfully teach and preach the word of God to the nation? Will America hear the word of the Lord that we have strayed far from the teachings of the Bible and allowed our land to become polluted with abortions and pornography and violence and wickedness of all kinds? Will we admit how far we are from God’s plan and purpose for our lives? Will we confess that our hearts are far from Jesus Christ and plead with the Lord for His mercy and grace and forgiveness? Will we fast and pray and earnestly seek God’s face, and implore Christ to give us a Third Great Awakening? Or will we ignore the word of the Lord and continue in our sins and watch our nation continue to decline, or even implode?

Twice in American history we have seen sweeping spiritual revivals known as the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, respectively. Millions of Americans repented of their sins during those seasons, became devout followers of Jesus Christ, began to read the Bible voraciously and to obey the word of the Lord. Nowhere in Scripture, however, has America been promised a spiritual revival in the 21st century, much less one that would be so sweeping, so game-changing that it would qualify as a Third Great Awakening. But who knows? Perhaps the Lord will show us tremendous mercy and forgiveness if we all humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways?

2. What happens if — on top of all our nation’s challenges and sins — America abandons or turns against Israel?

In Genesis 12, the Lord God chooses Abram, calls him out of Ur of the Chaldees (located in modern-day Iraq, 220 miles southeast of Baghdad) to go to “a land that I will show you,” which turns out to be the land later called Israel. The Lord promises to bless Abram, and through him bless “all the families of the earth.” Specifically in 12:3, the Lord says, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” As one reads through the rest of the book of Genesis, it becomes clear that this promise from God is passed down from Abram (who is later named Abraham) to Isaac to Jacob (later named Israel) and then to Jacob’s descendants, Israel and the Jewish people. Thus, the Lord is making clear that those who bless Israel and the Jewish people He will bless, and those who curse them He will curse. If America turns against or abandons Israel and the Jews after being their closest friend and ally for so many decades, God warns He will bring judgment upon us.

Psalm 122:6-9 — This passage reads, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, ‘May peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

Clearly, people all over the world, including in America, need to:

  • pray for peace in Jerusalem, Israel and the broader Middle East
  • pray for Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
  • love Jews and Arabs in the epicenter
  • seek the good of Jews and Arabs in the epicenter

The Lord promises to bless and “prosper” those who do.

3. Followers of Jesus Christ who love Israel and understand God’s Biblical plan for Israel must not be blind to the suffering in the Arab, Iranian, and Muslim world, nor deaf to their cries for help, nor dull to the terror and tyranny they face.

We are witnessing a Radical Islamic offensive across the Mideast, from Gaza to Syria to Iraq.

Leaders in Washington and across the world have been slow to see, and slow to act.

But the Church must step up. We serve the King of glory. Our King was born in the epicenter. He died and rose again in the epicenter. He is coming back to the epicenter — and He’s coming soon.

So we must help our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in the Middle East. We must show Christ’s love and compassion to Jews, Muslims and Christians in the epicenter.

We need to LEARN about what is happening in the region and God’s plan and purpose for the people there. [On this note, I shared with the students why I write fiction and non-fiction books to help educate people about coming dangers and mobilize them to action. I also shared about my forthcoming novel, THE THIRD TARGET, about the threat ISIS poses to the region and America, and that Tyndale and I have decided to release the novel earlier than expected because of how rapidly ISIS is moving. The book will now release on January 6th.] 

We need to PRAY for peace and healing and stability and calm in the region, and for open doors for the Gospel.

We need to GIVE to ministries that are doing effective work in the region, ministries like The Joshua Fund.

We also need to be willing to GO to the region if God sends us there to serve Him and serve the people in the name of Jesus.

Is this hard? Yes.

Is this dangerous? Sometimes.

But Jesus laid down His life in love to save us. Will you and I lay down our lives in love to serve Him?

When people and nations are in danger, will you and I blow the trumpet and sound the warning?

May the Lord use you as a faithful watchmen on the wall.

CONCLUSION

If a nation follows these principles — if they love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and do not divide the land of Israel, and love and pray for Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem and seek their good — then God will love and bless and show mercy to such a nation.

But if a nation violates these principles — especially chronically and consistently — then there will be a day of reckoning.

The question is: What do we want, a blessing or a curse, mercy or judgment?

Overall, most Americans are very supportive of Israel and find many ways to love and bless her, as well as the Arabs and others in Israel and the Middle East. This is good.

But there are a growing number of voices who say it is time to:

  • cut off military aid to Israel
  • boycott Israel
  • divest from Israel
  • sanction Israel
  • and/or turn against Israel once and for all

Some do so because of anti-Semitism, others out of a belief in isolationism, and others because of ignorance.

Given the high stakes, one of the things we need to do is teach people about God’s love and plan and purpose for Israel and the Jewish people, and why this matters to America. We need to help more people — including our leaders and future leaders — understand why America’s fate is inextricably linked with how we treat Israel and the Jewish people, as well as her neighbors.

I would encourage you to study Genesis 12 through 17, in particular, on your own more carefully.

You will seen how the Lord unfolds the Abrahamic Covenant, piece by piece, step by step, including the fact that this is an “everlasting covenant” (Genesis 17:7) and thus cannot be broken or abrogated, and that the Lord has given the land of Israel as an “everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8). 

Thank you  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39,671 other followers