President Barack Obama ponders the wonders of the pyramids on his trip to Cairo where he delivered an historic speech reaching out to the Muslim world.
Perhaps the greatest strategic mistake any world leader can make today is to not understand Islam and its goals.
Islam is a religion, a culture, a legal system, and a total way of life. Its stated goal is to rule the world, and all methods to achieve that are permissible. Extreme violence, fanaticism, deceit and recreating the historical narrative are its devices.
This religion of the sword sprang forth in the Seventh Century at a time, when Christianity was at a disastrous moral low.
Completely backslidden and broken into two pieces through power struggles, both East and West had lost the knowledge of God—except for a true penitent here and there who tried to do what seemed right in his own eyes.
It was then that an Arabian religious leader named Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah began to evangelize a new faith loosely based on Jewish and Christian teachings as well as his own visions.
I have heard it said that Islam was God’s wrath against a Christianity that had become—as had Judaism in Old Testament Days—a religion of idols and abominations.
Yet God—who always works in a thousand ways at the same time—allowed Islam to be birthed to test the nations. Islam came into existence to annihilate the reborn Jewish state God foretold would come back to life in these last days.
One might counter that Christianity massacred untold masses of Jews throughout the ages. But here is the difference.
The further Christians strayed from the central truths of the Gospel, the greater the violence and hatred against the Jewish people.
With Islam it is the exact opposite. The closer a Muslim moves towards the central principles of Islam, the more extreme his hatred and violence toward the Jewish people.
So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America … And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.
~ President Barack Obama
PRO-ISRAEL NATIONS STAND ALONE
Today pro-Israel nations must dare to stand against the tsunami of world hatred and revulsion towards Israel.
There are only a handful. But those who do stand with the Jewish nation will receive special blessings in these last days.
Those discerning the times understand what Islamic leaders are saying. They broadcast it every day, every night, on TV, in blogs, on the Internet, in the press. Hundreds of statements daily.
Their goal is the same. Their religious leaders spell it out: To destroy Israel—AND—to take over the world.
This religion has never produced a truly democratic and free society. It cannot, because it cannot deny itself. Islam is multiplied through dictatorships in Islamic countries, and through mullahs who promote tumult and mayhem under the noses of free nations.
Islam beheads or hangs those who want to escape the chains of this anti-God religion-law-culture, where women are chattels and men are beaten into submission.
The Allah of Islam and the God of Israel cannot be the same God. One has commanded the destruction of Israel and the Other the salvation of Israel.
ENTER THE PRESIDENT
Enter the president of the United States, whose father and stepfather were Muslims. Those are the only facts concerning Barack Obama’s background on which most people agree.
Obama attended school for four years in Indonesia. It would seem to me the main product of those years on Obama’s life would be a certain affinity, shall we say an empathy, for Islam which is foreign to most Christians and Jews.
From my observation, since he became president, Obama has publicly defended Islam many more times than he has Christianity.
There are pictures on the Internet of Obama removing his shoes to visit a mosque in Istanbul, while he decided not to attend the annual National Day of Prayer at the White House—which President Harry Truman initiated in 1952.
Curiously, the LA Times noted that Obama has shown an unusual sensitivity toward atheists, the first president to mention non-believers in an inaugural address when he said, “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and nonbelievers.”
So it was quite natural for President Obama to visit two Muslim countries during the first half year of his presidency. (Since his inauguration He has not visited Israel which is supposedly a close ally of the U.S.)
On his trip to Egypt—the most populated Arab land with almost 90,000,000 inhabitants—he made an important speech reaching out to the entire Muslim world. Here are a few excerpts.
“I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.
“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles—principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
“Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk.
“So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day… when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, [from the Koran, ed.] when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.“
Truly, this president comes from a different mindset than any other in the history of the United States of America. He has little motivation to see America as a Bible-believing nation under God, the God of Israel, the God of the Old and New Testaments.
I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan
family that includes generations of Muslims.
~ President Barack Obama
SHEEP NATIONS AND GOAT NATIONS
In the Bible we learn that when Israel had a righteous ruler who obeyed the commandments of God, Israel prospered. When a disobedient king was in charge, the nation suffered—severely.
Israel is God’s example of the way He deals with the human race. He has given us His Word so that we will know the Truth and the Way.
The Bible harshly challenges political correctness.
Surely there is not a single politician in the Western nations who does not have a Bible tucked away somewhere in his library. According to that Bible, Israel will be one of the ways God tests every nation.
As a Nigerian leader wrote us concerning the UN Security Council vote for a Palestinian state on the land God promised to Israel, “We are seriously interceding for Nigeria… God forbid that Nigeria will become a goat-nation at a time that we have a Christian president. We are praying—that all the enemies of Israel will be put to shame.”
May there be intercessors around the world who hold up their own countries in prayer, so that those nations may receive the Blessing of Abraham, first of all in spiritual awakening and also in physical and economic well-being.
Error #1: Demanding building freeze of “settlements” including East Jerusalem.
President Obama’s first mistake was to believe that by cozying up to the Islamic nations, he would be considered a respected and appreciated world leader, especially among Muslims.
His strategy included throwing a carrot to the Palestinians during his Cairo speech by demanding serious concessions from Israel and nothing from the Palestinians:
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop,” he demanded.
Obama received no political capital from that speech. The opposite! Whatever pressure the West exerts on Israel becomes a promise cut in stone to the Palestinians. Pressure exerted on the Palestinians is completely ignored by them.
So here was a “promise” that PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was overjoyed to embrace. The PLO and Israel had been negotiating for years while both Arabs and Jews were building in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). From the moment that Obama made his declaration, however, Abbas announced he would no longer negotiate with Israel unless all settlement building was frozen.
Under tremendous pressure Israel did freeze new construction for 10 months, but refused to stop building in Jerusalem, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We do not put any restrictions [for building] in our sovereign capital.”
Even with the freeze, the Palestinians spent only a few weeks out of those 10 months talking to the Israelis, and when the time was up, Netanyahu declined to extend the freeze. Since then, Abbas has refused to participate in any peace talks with Israel.
Abbas has publicly repeated many times, “If President Obama said that Israel must enact a settlement freeze, who am I to demand less than Obama?”
Since Obama’s speech in Cairo, virtually all negotiations between Israel and Palestinians ceased.
Error #2: “Dreaming” of a Palestinian state in one year.
At Obama’s annual UN speech of 2010, he implored, “This time, we should draw upon the teachings of tolerance that lie at the heart of three great religions that see Jerusalem’s soil as sacred. This time we should reach for what’s best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations—an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”
Bingo! Another promise! Abbas has explained many times that since Obama proclaimed last year at the UN the Palestinians should have their own sovereign state within a year, he was back to ask the UN to grant them that statehood.
But here lies a major problem for Israel. In all of Obama’s speeches, he has not once required of the Palestinians to confront the key issue threatening Israel’s existence. He has not demanded that in return for a sovereign Palestinian state, the Palestinian government must recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.
Think of the irony of this issue.
The Arab Islamic states are exactly that: Arab. Islamic. (With little or no freedom of religion or human rights.)
However, these same Islamic Arab leaders say that Israel’s claim to be a homeland for the Jews—a Jewish state—is a racist concept.
Now here is the bottom line to why the Palestinians are determined they will never ever recognize Israel’s right to be a homeland for the Jews. The Palestinian leadership, including Hamas in Gaza, plan on continuing their war against Israel until they destroy her.
Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, they say, would mean that Arabs are giving up their goal to “return” nearly five million Palestinians to Israel proper. Millions of new Arabs moving into the State of Israel would of course destroy the democratic Jewish state. Where would they live, I ask myself? Where? No place, unless all the present residents were removed.
The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke for all Muslim nations in a “Palestinian Intifada” conference last month in Iran: “Our claim is freedom of Palestine, not part of Palestine. Any plan that partitions Palestine is totally rejected.”
At the same conference, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal summed it up: “Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed.”
Because the Western nations do not demand that the Arab nations give up their plan to destroy Israel, the Islamists will continue to work towards that goal with every tool at their disposal. The UN, controlled by the Islamic block along with its totalitarian friends, has now became their most potent weapon.
Mistake #3: Demanding Israel must return to the negotiation table with a precondition that Israel accept the pre-1967 armistice lines as borders.
Last May, a few days before the arrival in Washington of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Obama declared that Israel and the Palestinians must return to the negotiating table.
The preconditions that he fashioned would (as always) only be for Israel’s side. She must agree to return, Obama said, to the “1967 borders” with some land swaps between the two sides.
Knowing that the Palestinians would be fixated on the words “1967 borders” including the Western Wall and the entire eastern half of Jerusalem, the Israeli government immediately protested, saying that for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders would leave it “indefensible.”
Mr. Netanyahu held an angry phone conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hours before the speech in which he demanded that the president’s reference to 1967 borders be cut.
The pre-1967 borders (more accurately is really the 1949 armistice lines) left Israel vulnerable to constant deadly attacks from surrounding Arab countries from the day Israel was born.
President Obama’s speech recommending that negotiations start with this precondition, made the current Palestinians position stronger—meaning the 1949 armistice lines became the BEGINNING of negotiations.
Again, Obama did not feel it necessary to call on the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jews nor did he think it necessary to mention that by the Palestinians having their own country, they would no longer need to claim the right for five million Arabs to “return” to Israel.
Obviously, Israel did not agree to the lopsided demands. This demand has only hardened the positions of both sides.
Mistake #4: The U.S. and Europe failing to demand a cessation of Arab genocidal hate propaganda against Israel.
Another fatal mistake made by President Obama and all of the democratic countries is the fact they do not demand that Palestinians cease their devastating torrent of hate propaganda against Israel on TV, in school from kindergarten up, and goverment-controlled media outlets.
Their countless anti-Semitic tools include printing millions of “Elders of Zion” books throughout the Arab world which “prove” that the Jews are planning to take over the world. Their movies dwell on dramas which graphically portray Jews killing non-Jewish children to use their blood in baking matzah for Passover.
The hatred and misinformation that has permeated the Muslim nations is beyond anything Westerners can fathom. It equals the Nazi propaganda that was disseminated in order to delegitimize, isolate and destroy the Jewish people. Arab children and adults are regularly taught there was never an ancient Israelite people in the Holy Land. There was never a David nor Solomon nor a Temple, nor an Elijah. Jesus himself was not a Jew, but he too was a Palestinian. Thus, the Jews are impostors who have stolen and occupied ancient Muslim land.
This propaganda is preposterous to Western ears (maybe not so much anymore as the West moves farther and farther from its Biblical roots), but Arabs sincerely believe what they are taught.
That is why the “Arab Spring” is such fertile ground for extremist Islamists who are working to take over the countries that have rid themselves of Arab dictators. All of these nations will very likely follow in the footsteps of Iran—who threw their dictator King out and gained an Islamic totalitarianism that now threatens the whole earth with nuclear weapons.
What the world doesn’t know or comprehend is that the people of Israel would do just about anything—except commit suicide—to give the Palestinian people part of the land of Israel if only they knew that the Palestinians would give up their goal of destroying Israel.
Because God is still on His throne and will still accomplish His Will—to return the people of Israel to the land of Israel and to the God of Israel, and to bring revival to the ends of the earth—I wonder if God has not blinded the Palestinian people and hardened their hearts to such an extent that there will never be a Palestinian state.
This article is remarkable because it is written by a former Prime Minister of Spain. There are not many friends of Israel among the elites of Europe and José María Aznar is a stunning breath of fresh air in his insight to the centrality of Israel and the Jewish people to the whole world. “Out of concern for the unprecedented campaign of delegitimization against Israel waged by the enemies of the Jewish State,” according to his own words, Mr. Aznar has founded Friends of Israel Initiative and has persuaded a number of influential politicians and statesmen to join his initiative. ~ Editor
For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.
In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organized a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN.
Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.
Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully-fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.
Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war.
Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.
Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.
For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.
But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.
The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfillment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.
The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.
Israel is our first line of defense in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.
The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic selfdoubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.
This cannot be allowed to happen.
Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.
It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defense of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.
Israel is a fundamental part of the West.
The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.
José María Aznar was prime minister of Spain between 1996 and 2004.
The above article was published in the British newspaper ‘The Times’ on 17 June 2010.
Congregation Adonai Roi (the Lord is my Shepherd) led by Avi, and Congregation Tiferet Yeshua (the Glory of Yeshua) led by Ari, both in Tel Aviv, worshiped together during the High Holiday season. Two other pioneer Israeli leaders, Howard Bass from Beersheva and Shlomi Abramov from Rishon Letzion joined us.
Our two worship teams led the people into the presence of God and together we sounded the Shofar, that same sound that will announce the Coming of the Messiah!
We took the Lord’s Supper together and prayed for each other while teachers from both congregations taught our children and teenagers.