Fiction, Faith & Freedom: Here’s the video of my remarks and Q&A session at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

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(Simi Valley, CA) — I want to thank John Heubusch, the executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, and Joanne Drake, the Reagan Library’s chief of staff, for inviting me to speak at and to tour this extraordinary museum.

As someone who greatly admired America’s 40th president — both for his deeply-hold religious and political convictions, as well as his gracious and winsome manner, even with his strongest opponents — it was both a joy and an honor I will never forget.

Before a lively and engaged crowd of more than 300 guests, Joanne interviewed me  about my life as a novelist, as a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, my interactions with American and world leaders, my interest in and knowledge about President Reagan, as well as my Evangelical faith and how it informs my work as an author and speaker. Then we spent nearly a third of the evening fielding wonderfully perceptive questions from the audience.

You can watch the full webcast by clicking here. The entire program with Q&A runs about one hour and five minutes. 

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Also: I’ve posted many pictures from my tour of the Reagan Library museum — including me on Reagan’s actual Air Force One, next to his Marine One helicopter, and so forth — on our Epicenter Team Facebook page, as well as on Twitter. Please check those out. And do make plans to visit the Reagan Library soon with family and friends. It’s a wonderful experience and very, very well done.

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“The Persian Gamble” hits #6 on the Washington Post’s hardcover fiction bestseller list.

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(Simi Valley, California) — We just learned that The Persian Gamble has hit The Washington Post’s hardcover fiction bestseller list at #6.

It also hit the Post’s national fiction bestseller list (which factors in all mass market and trade paperbacks) at #12.

We also just learned that The Persian Gamble has hit the….

Thank you again to everyone who is buying, enjoying, talking about and writing about my new political thriller with family and friends and on social media. Please keep it up!

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An historic, moral, and strategically wise decision: President Trump was right to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Here’s why.

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(Washington, D.C.) — President Trump made history this week by signing an official proclamation declaring that the United States now recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He did so during a Monday ceremony in the Oval Office with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [Read the leaders’ remarks here.]

I commend President Trump and Vice President Pence for making this morally correct, strategically wise, and long-overdue decision. And I pray the U.S. and Israel will continue to work ever-more-closely together to prevent Russia, Iran and Turkey from taking over Syria and making it a forward operating base from which to attack the Jewish State.

Context:

  • In 1967, Syria planned and prepared to use the Golan Heights as the launching pad of a massive invasion of Israel. Their goal: to help Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser “throw the Jews into the sea” and utterly annihilate the Jewish State.
  • Syria’s plans, however, were thwarted when Israel won the “Six Day War” — stunning all of the Arab states — and took possession of the Golan Heights.
  • In 1973, Syria again planned and prepared to invade Israel and utterly destroy the Jewish State. In close cooperation with the Egyptians, Damascus launched a massive surprise attack on Yom Kippur, the highest holy day on the Jewish calendar. 
  • Syria’s plan, however, were once again thwarted — precisely because Israel now controlled these commanding heights. Israeli soldiers and tanks positioned in the Golan Heights faced an overwhelming onslaught by Syria tank units. But the Israelis present in those mountain passes fought bravely and were able to fend off the initial Syrian wave just long enough until the IDF could call up reserves to come to their rescue and decisively push the Syrians back for good. Had Israel not controlled the Heights at the time, it is very likely that Syria would have succeeded in capturing most (and perhaps all) of northern Israel.

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Most world leaders consider the Golan Heights “Israeli occupied territory.” But let’s be clear: Israel was not the aggressor in 1967. Israel was not seeking to annihilate anyone or destroy an entire country or even expand its territory. Instead, Israel won the territory in a defensive war against an enemy threatening her people with genocide. Just six years later, Israelis leaders used the territory to defend their people against a second war of annihilation. Since then, the Heights have provided critically important strategic depth on a front with a neighbor long-hostile, and now disintegrating into murderous chaos.

Imagine if Israel had handed this territory back to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

  • Would Israelis have been safe from a man who has murdered more than 500,000 of his own people in recent years?
  • Would Israel have been safe from a man who has used chemical weapons against his own people?
  • Would Israel have been safe from the genocidal forces of ISIS which captured large swaths of Syria and, until their caliphate was recently crushed, kept advancing against the borders of Israel?
  • Would Israel have been safe from a regime that has allied itself with Iran, whose mullahs also threaten to “wipe Israel off the map”?

The truth is it would be insane to turn this land over to the agents of terror and genocide. That’s why Israel formally annexed the Golan Heights as sovereign Israeli territory in 1981, after concluding that it could not survive another war from the north without possession of the Golan Heights. At the time, the Reagan administration sharply criticized Israel’s decision. But now the Trump White House and State Department have come to realize that on this issue Israel has been proven right after all. Hopefully, other nations will study the issue more carefully and come to the same conclusion.

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“The Persian Gamble” hits #4 on Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Also hits New York Times & USA Today hardcover fiction bestseller lists.

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(San Diego, California) — Greetings from beautiful, sunny San Diego. I’m speaking here tonight as part of the nationwide book tour. Please click here to see the updated schedule and please plan to join us at one of the upcoming events.

That said, I’m pleased to announce that The Persian Gamble has hit the three major national best-seller lists in the United States this week.

This represents a significant jump on two of the national lists — PW and USA Today — compared to last year. Here is how The Kremlin Conspiracy fared in its opening week in March of 2018:

Thank you so much to all of my readers in the U.S., Canada and around the world. My team and I are deeply grateful that you purchased the new novel and liked it so much. Indeed, on behalf of our entire publishing and PR team, we’re also grateful for everyone who has been writing about and reviewing The Persian Gamble on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media. Please don’t stop!

I also want to wish all my Jewish and Israeli friends a very Happy Purim! And Happy Nowruz — Persian New Year — to all of my Iranian friends!

Purim is the Biblical holiday commemorating the days of Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai some 2,500 years ago. Their faith and courage helped save the Jewish people from a Persian plot to annihilate the entire nation of Israel. Today, the leaders of Persia are again plotting horrific attacks, but this time they want to annihilate the people of the United States as well as the people of Israel. I would encourage you to read the entire Book of Esther in the Old Testament of the Bible over the next few days to better understand this extraordinary story, and the faithful God who protects those who call upon him with fasting and prayer.

Finally, let me say that I am praying faithfully for the people of Iran that the Lord God Almighty will set them all free from the cruel slavery and terrible tyranny of the current Iranian regime. May they all soon breathe the sweet air of freedom!

Please follow me on Twitter for updates on the latest geopolitical news, as well as news from the book tour. Thanks.

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Rush Limbaugh endorses #ThePersianGamble on radio show & says, “Joel Rosenberg is one of the greatest thriller novelists in the country.”

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(Dallas, Texas) — Greetings from Dallas where I’m on the 2nd city of a 12-city book tour.

Today, I was doing media interviews and other book meetings and unfortunately didn’t get to listen to the Rush Limbaugh Show. But Rush opened the show with a big endorsement of my new novel and I began getting emails and Tweets from friends all across the country.

“Joel Rosenberg was on the original staff of The Limbaugh Letter many, many moons ago. He has now branched out. He’s become one of the greatest thriller mystery novelists in the country, as well as becoming an expert on American Middle Eastern policy, and he’s got a new book out — it’s called The Persian Gamble….If you’ve not read a Joel Rosenberg novel, you really [need to]. Folks, we’re so proud of him here. They’re just excellent. They just top drawer.”

Rush also shares several anecdotes from my recent meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence in the Oval Office.

Thank you so much, Rush, for your very kind words. So sorry I missed the show today, but I couldn’t be more grateful!

To read the full transcript — or to listen to the segment online — please click here.

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North Korea has 60 nuclear warheads. What if Iran takes the $150 billion Obama gave them & buys several? This is the premise of #ThePersianGamble, as I explained on CBN News.

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(Virginia Beach, Virginia) — As The Persian Gamble launched nationwide, I had the opportunity to do a series of interviews with CBN News at the headquarters of the Christian Broadcasting Network here in Virginia Beach.

Here is the link to the main interview, on the “700 Club” — the network’s flagship morning show — with Pat Robertson. This one runs about 12 minutes.

Here is the link to the second interview I did with Gordon Robertson. This one runs about 9 minutes. 

In both, I explained that Western intelligence now believes North Korea currently possesses about 60 fully operational nuclear warheads. They also have ICBMs that may be capable of reaching the Pacific coast of the United States. What if Iran were to try to buy some of those warheads, using the $150 billion that President Obama gave them for agreeing to the so-called “Iran nuclear deal” back in 2015? 

In both interviews, I also talk a bit about my recent meetings with President Trump and Vice President Pence regarding Iran, North Korean, Israel and the U.S. I hope you’ll take some time to watch both interviews, and share them with others.

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THE PERSIAN GAMBLE emerged from conversations with former CIA directors and senior Israeli & Arab intelligence officials. (Here’s my 1st interview on the new novel and the research that goes into writing political thrillers that feel ripped from tomorrow’s headlines.)

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(Washington, D.C.) — On the eve of the release of The Persian Gamble, I gave my first interview specifically about the book to Ryan Steck, editor of The Real Book Spy, the industry’s leading news site covering thrillers and mysteries.

Here are a few excerpts from Ryan’s story:

Author Brad Meltzer (who also hosts several shows on the History Channel) once said “a thriller author’s job is to beat the headlines,” and nobody has done that better over the last fifteen years than Joel C. Rosenberg. 

So known to predict future events that he was once nicknamed “a modern-day Nostradamus,” Rosenberg has been right on the money regarding a number of issues both in the States and, where he seems to really specialize, the Middle East. Consider this: Before everyone and their brother was writing about ISIS and making them the bad guy in their stories (Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, John Lescroart, Ben Coes, Kyle Mills, Alex Berenson, Mark Greaney, etc.) Rosenberg wrote them into his 2015 thriller  The Third Target, which originally wasn’t slated to come out until further into the year, but was pushed up to a January release by Joel’s publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, because the events of the book were seemingly playing out in real time. 

So, while everyone else was focused on other Middle Eastern terrorist groups, Rosenberg drew attention to the threat of ISIS. Now, as most thriller writers are finally pivoting away from ISIS, Rosenberg once again leads the charge, having set his sights on Russia—the main antagonist of his last novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy. At the time, in an exclusive interview, Rosenberg told me, “I needed a new challenge and wanted to focus on a different part of the world, different enemies. In this case, I kept finding myself drawn to Russia.”

Bottom line: Nobody has read the tea leaves quite like he has . . . so if you want to see where the conflict between the U.S. and Russia might one day be headed, and what it could look like when we get there, Rosenberg’s books offer a chilling and sobering take on things—wrapped inside a heart-pounding thriller. 

Now, after the success of The Kremlin Conspiracy, Rosenberg is set to release his highly-anticipated follow-up, which continues the story of former secret service agent Marcus Ryker, who’s teaming with a high-valued Russian with direct ties to the president to try and stop World War III before it’s too late. Just before heading out for his book tour, Rosenberg, who lives with his family in Israel, agreed to another Five Questions piece, and I asked him about everything from how he came up with the plot details for this one to whether or not he feels pressure to continue trying to predict the future in his stories….

To read the full article, including my answers to Ryan’s 5 Questions, click here.

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Will Trump’s Mideast peace plan really be “dead on arrival”? Two reasons the critics may be wildly off the mark, especially because of Iran nuclear threat. My new column in The Jerusalem Post.

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(Washington, D.C.) — This morning, The Jerusalem Post published a new column of mine, “Will President Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan Really Be ‘Dead On Arrival’? Not If POTUS Makes It Easier For Gulf States To Move Towards Israel.”

Here are excerpts:

  • Soon after the April 9 elections, the White House is expected to unveil US President Donald Trump’s long-anticipated plan to advance peace in the Middle East. Critics aren’t waiting to read the actual text. They’ve already declared the effort doomed from the start. Yet such cynicism could very well prove wildly off the mark….
  • “Kushner’s Peace Plan Looks Dead on Arrival,” declared Politico.
  • “Kushner’s Peace Plan Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen,” insisted Foreign Policy magazine.
  • “Trump’s pursuit of his ultimate deal is almost certain to turn into the ultimate failure,” concluded Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official.
  • Palestinian leaders, meanwhile, have been publicly blasting the plan for months, while adamantly refusing to meet with administration officials.
  • Last July, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, vowed the Trump plan would be “dead on arrival.”
  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in November “the deal of the century is… the slap of the century” and “will not pass.”
  • Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, recently denounced the plan as “a ridiculous and doomed-to-fail attempt at normalizing Israeli crimes.”
  • Despite such a barrage of criticism, there are, however, two reasons why such conventional wisdom may prove entirely wrong….

[To read the rest of the column, please click here.]

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Meeting with the President and VP to discuss Israel, Iran, North Korea and the future of peace. I told him I was once a Never Trumper. I also told him I’m deeply grateful for many of the actions he’s taken in office & pray for him daily.

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(Washington, D.C.) — Last Thursday, I was humbled to be invited to the White House for four hours of meetings regarding the upcoming rollout of the President’s Middle East Peace Plan, as well as the threats posed to the U.S., Israel and our allies by the rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea.

  • The morning began with a “listening session” with Jason Greenblatt, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations, and a group of high-profile American Evangelical leaders. Greenblatt is one of the chief architects of the Mideast peace plan with Jared Kushner and David Friedman. While I’m not at liberty to share what Greenblatt told us, I was encouraged by the conversation and by the Administration’s desire to answer Evangelicals’ questions and address our concerns. (see this article, “White House working to reassure Evangelicals on Middle East peace plan,” for more.)
  • Next, I had a private lunch with Vice President Mike Pence and one of his senior advisors. The VP and I have been friends for many years, going back to his days as a Member of Congress. This was our first opportunity to sit down and debrief on the Evangelical Delegations I led to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last Fall, and I was glad to be able to share with him what my colleagues and I saw and heard and how this may factor into the prospects for peace in the Middle East.
  • When lunch was over, the Vice President asked me if I had ever met President Trump. I said no. “Come with me,” he said. The next thing I knew, the VP led me into the Oval Office and introduced me to America’s Commander-in-Chief. The President then invited me to sit down with him and the VP around the Resolute Desk, joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
  • It was a fascinating meeting. The President couldn’t have been more warm and gracious, even when I shared with him that I had been a “Never Trumper” until the Thursday before the 2016 election, and then explained why I did vote for him in the end. I’m guessing “Never Trumper” is not a term used much in the Oval Office. But I felt I needed to be honest with him about my background. I explained that I hadn’t been convinced during the campaign that he would keep his word regarding all the promises he made to pursue conservative policies. But I was glad to be able to add that I have been deeply grateful that he has, in fact, kept his word on so many matters. I thanked him for being the most pro-life and pro-Israel president in the history of the United States, for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, for scrapping the insane Iran nuclear deal, for leading tough negotiations with the North Koreans to persuade them to denuclearize, for pushing NATO to spend more money on their own defense, for unleashing the power of the American economy, and a number of other areas.
  • My favorite moment was when the President said, “Now, did I get this right? Mike [the VP] tells me you’re an Evangelical Christian. Is that right?” Yes, sir, I said, it is. “But a name like Joel Rosenberg, isn’t that Jewish?” I almost laughed. That is my favorite question in the world, and it was fun to share with him that yes, I am Jewish on my father’s side, Gentile on my mother’s side, and I believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of the world. “That must be a little confusing to your Israeli friends,” he laughed. “It is, sir, and to my Arab friends, too,” I replied. “But it’s always the beginning of an interesting conversation.”

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  • I will share more about our meeting later. But as it ended, I said, “Mr. President, you have more time and can get many more things done. But history will always remember you for protecting innocent, unborn children, and for moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem. As an Evangelical and an Israeli, I want to thank you for both of these. And I want you to know that I pray for you and your family every single day.” He seemed genuinely touched by this and expressed his gratitude and gave me a firm handshake.
  • The Vice President and I then walked back to his office, where we continued our discussions of trendlines in the Middle East and the forthcoming peace plan.
  • Those of you who have followed me over the years know that I don’t agree with President Trump on everything, that I’m uncomfortable with some of his language and Tweets, and that I’ve felt the need to publicly criticize him on various issues since he took office. Thus, some of you are going to be very angry that I met with him at all, and spoke encouraging words to him.
  • To such critics I would just ask a few things:
  • 1) The Bible commands us to “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God [and] honor the king.” (I Peter 2:17; see also Romans 13:7) Part of honoring leaders means agreeing to meet and sit down and get to know one another. Part of honoring them means listening to them and answering their questions. Part of it means having the character to thank them for what they are doing right, and to encourage them to keep doing what is right.
  • 2) The Bible also commands us to love one another. The Apostle Paul teaches us that “love is patient, love is kind…it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs….It always protects, always trusts, always hopes….” (I Corinthians 13:4-7) There is a time and place for confrontation, for speaking the truth in love. But love also means showing grace and mercy, for being kind, for expressing appreciation and gratitude for what a leader is doing right, and for building a personal bond of trust with the hopes of meeting again in the future and perhaps even beginning a friendship that would allow a deeper, fuller conversation on a range of issues. 
  • 3) The Bible commands us to “pray for kings and others in power, so we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God.” (I Timothy 2:2) Regardless of your political views, please join me in praying daily for President Trump, Vice President Pence, their families and their advisors, in all they do, and especially as they put the finishing touches on this Middle East peace plan and unveil it to allies and skeptics alike, sometime after the April 9th elections in Israel.
  • Last thought: I give the administration a great deal of credit for reaching out not only to Evangelicals but to Jewish and Arab leaders, among others, soliciting their input and wise counsel. I have no illusions that the road ahead is going to be easy. It won’t be. Indeed, I don’t currently have much hope that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas really wants to come back to the negotiating table and make peace. But I am very hopeful that a number of Sunni Gulf Arab leaders are ready to make major steps towards peace with Israel. So, like so many others, I can’t wait to see what is actually in this long-awaited plan.

(photo credit: Official White House photos; Oval Office shot by Shealah Craighead)

Some Democrats rightly denounce Rep. Omar’s ugly, anti-Semitic remarks. But much more is needed. She must be censured & removed from Foreign Affairs Committee, as I said on Fox News.

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(Washington, D.C.) — An ugly series of anti-Semitic statements have erupted from freshman Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, triggering global headlines and denunciations of her by top Democrat leaders.

Ms. Omar is living the American Dream. A Muslim born in war-torn Somalia, she and her family immigrated to the United States when she was a child. She became a naturalized citizen, grew up in the Midwest, and now serves in the most powerful legislative body on the planet. It’s a beautiful personal story, yet she has chosen to leverage it against Jewish Americans. 

Among the statements that are drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans alike:

“Something has seriously wrong with the Congresswoman,” I said on an interview on Fox News on Wednesday night. “I mean, she has a great story, a great personal story, and yet she has unleashed of remarks. And let me just quote from the Democratic leadership — ‘vile, hateful, hurtful, classically anti-Semitic’ — I could go on. And that’s just from Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Eliot Engel, and I agree with them. And she has apologized, except that she keeps doing it. There needs to be a penalty for this. They need to take her Foreign Affairs Committee seat to make it clear this is not business as usual. This is really ugly behavior, and you don’t want it permeating the Democratic Party.”  

Since that interview, things have gotten worse. The Democratic leadership was set to pass a resolution this week denouncing anti-Semitism. Yet Speaker Pelosi began to equivocate on the language in the resolution after many Democrat Congressmen and women defended Rep. Omar. At the moment, it’s not clear a resolution will be brought to the floor at all, and if it is, it apparently won’t name Rep. Omar.

This is appalling. If Speaker Pelosi and her fellow Democratic leaders don’t have the moral clarity to take a firm stand against clear-cut anti-Semitism — especially when 70% of Jewish Americans vote Democrat — do they have any red lines at all? 

To watch the full interview, please click here.

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