By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence this week told the people of Israel he came to their nation with one simple message: “America stands with Israel.” In a speech before the Israeli Knesset, the Vice President said:
We stand with Israel because your cause is our cause, your values are our values, and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny. We stand with Israel because that’s what Americans have always done…
In his address celebrating the bond between Israel and the United States, Pence highlighted the power of the upcoming 70th anniversary of modern Israel and he recounted some common causes, such as opposition to terrorism and Iran’s current oppressive regime.
Pence also reiterated America’s commitment to honoring its ally by moving its embassy to its rightful place in Jerusalem, a move NRB has advocated and welcomes. “Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” he declared simply, and later added, “By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction. And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace.”
Pence concluded his Knesset address:
The miracle of Israel is an inspiration to the world. And the United States of America is proud to stand with Israel and her people, as allies and cherished friends. And so we will “pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” that “those who love you be secure,” that “there be peace within your walls, and security in your citadels.” And we will work and strive for that brighter future where everyone who calls this ancient land their home shall sit “under their vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid.”
At NRB’s 2017 convention, the association’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for Israel. The Board called on NRB members to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and for the U.S. “to stand steadfastly by Israel, even as others malign, abandon, or attack her.” They also urged Christians to “reject and guard against the dangerous Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.”
Next month, in anticipation of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel, NRB will host a special session at Proclaim 18 in Nashville, Tennessee, that will feature Christian ministry leaders Kay Arthur and David Jeremiah; award-winning singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith; and others.
Proclaim 18, which will also feature a visit from Vice President Pence on its opening day, will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville February 27-March 2, 2018.
“And almost two-thirds could not name 1944 as the year of the D-Day landings. One in 10 even had no idea Adolf Hitler was involved in the war.”
Another survey released in April coducted by Onepoll.com on behalf of the History Channel found that of 2,000 respondents many had a poor understanding of the history of the Vikings.
“Almost four in 10 admit they believe the Vikings were just like the stereotype of ferocious raiders with blonde hair and big beards, but more than one in 10 aren’t convinced the Vikings even existed,” the Mirror reported last spring.
“One in four were also unaware the Vikings raided the U.K., with more than one in 20 believing they targeted south America instead.”
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s president is calling on nations to back a non-binding resolution that is expected to be brought to the U.N. General Assembly and seeks the cancellation of President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the appeal Tuesday during a joint news conference with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, a day after the U.S. vetoed such a resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
Fourteen other members of the Security Council supported the resolution — a move Erdogan described as “important and meaningful.”
The Turkish leader said: “I invite all U.N. member countries to defend Jerusalem’s historic status (in the 193-member General Assembly).”
Erdogan has been among the most vocal critics of Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem.
By withdrawing from UNESCO – again – President Trump is sending a powerful message to the international community: that we will no longer tolerate international organizations that serve as forums for Jew-bashing.
This important message was encapsulated in a powerful statement made by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley: “The purpose of UNESCO is a good one. Unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment… US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.”
“There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” — Charles de Montesquieu, French lawyer and philosopher (d.1755)
The State Department announced on Thursday that the United States would be withdrawing from the UN agency UNESCO.
The U.S. agency citied financial reasons, the need for reform and the body’s “continuing anti-Israel bias.” President Trump’s decision to leave UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – as of December 31, 2018, was an appropriate foreign policy decision that will hopefully prompt a much-needed rethink of the United Nations, its purpose and practices. It will also send a strong message to the Palestinians that statehood cannot be achieved on the basis of UN resolutions alone, and that the only way forward is to engage in direct negotiations with Israel, during which mutual sacrifices will be required.
In the aftermath of WWII, the intended goal of the Paris-based UN body was a noble one: to promote basic freedoms and security through international collaboration on education, science and cultural projects. UNESCO-sponsored projects focused on literacy, vocational training, equal access to basic education and preservation of human rights and historical sites are indeed praiseworthy. In practice, however, the 195-member body – with its automatic anti-Israel majority that exists in every institution of the UN – has become a springboard for Jew hatred and the rewriting of history.
To be sure, UNESCO is far from the only UN agency regularly to single out Israel for reproach. Yet, its anti-Israel adoptions have been abhorrent even by the low standards established by the broader multilateral institution. Consider a resolution introduced in May, which denied Israel – and the Jewish people’s – legal and historic ties to the city of Jerusalem, including its holiest sites. It called the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the resting place of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs – and Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, “Palestinian sites.” Shamefully, this vote was deliberately held on Israel’s Independence Day. Only two months later, the cultural body convened in Krakow, Poland – a city soaked in Jewish blood – and declared the city of Hebron, holy to Jews, an endangered Palestinian heritage site.
Even for some of the harshest critics of Israel, this historical ignorance is sometimes too much to swallow. In October 2016, for example, when UNESCO passed a resolution denying Israel’s connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – referring to them only by their Muslin names – UNESCO chief, Irina Bokov (whose intentions and motivations are themselves often curious) questioned the text of the Arab-sponsored resolution on Jerusalem.
This egregious distortion of history is not particularly surprising when considering the anti-Semitic political culture that has come to underpin UNESCO, particularly since 2011, when it became the first UN agency to admit the Palestinians as a full member. Hillel Neuer of the watchdog organization, UN Watch, noted that between 2009-2014 the cultural body has adopted 46 resolutions against Israel, yet only one on Syria and none on Iran, Sudan, North Korea, or any of the other known violators of human rights around the world. In fact, a representative of the regime of Syrian dictator and mass murderer Bashar al-Assad sits on a UNESCO human rights committee.
Neuer further highlights this double standard: “UNESCO paid tribute to mass murderer Che Guevara, elected Syria to its human rights committee, and created prizes named after the dictators of Bahrain and Equatorial Guinea, whose ruler Obiang says God empowered him to kill whomever he wants. UNESCO has a noble founding mission, but that has been completely hijacked by the world’s worst tyrannies and supporters of terror.”
This is not the first time that the United States has pulled out of the hypocritical UN cultural body. Under President Reagan in 1984, the United States walked away from UNESCO owing to financial mismanagement and “hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society.” It was only in 2002 that President G.W Bush re-joined the body and stated that the United States wanted to “participate fully in its mission to advance human rights, tolerance and learning.” But this vision was upturned when President Obama halted funding to the UN body in 2011 (US funding at the time accounted for one-fifth of UNESCO’s budget) when Palestine was accepted as a full member. This original level of financial support has not been restored and the cultural body has since missed out on close to $600 million of American funding.
Among the reasons are that by withdrawing from UNESCO – again – President Trump is sending a powerful message to the international community: the United States will no longer tolerate international organizations that serve as forums for Jew-bashing. This important message was encapsulated in a powerful statement made by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley: “The purpose of UNESCO is a good one. Unfortunately, its extreme politicization has become a chronic embarrassment…US taxpayers should no longer be on the hook to pay for policies that are hostile to our values and make a mockery of justice and common sense.”
The political thinker Charles de Montesquieu famously said: “There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” It is precisely because UNESCO purports to be a cultural and educational body that its false credibility masks its pervasive bigotry.
On Friday afternoon it was announced that former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay – a Jewish woman – was elected as UNESCO Chief. Azoulay said that “UNESCO is going through a profound crisis” but that she hopes to fix it from within. I hope she succeeds in this mission. I hope she can turn UNESCO from an organization that promotes bigotry in the false name of culture, into one that opposes all forms of bigotry. Given the nature of its voting membership, this will not be easy, but with pressure from the U.S., it may have a chance of succeeding. Perhaps then the U.S. will maintain its membership in and financial support for UNESCO.
PARIS (AP) — The United States announced Thursday it is pulling out of the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for “fundamental reform” in the agency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit.
While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the timing of the State Department’s statement was unexpected. The Paris-based agency’s executive board is in the midst of choosing a new chief — with Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leading the heated election heading into Friday’s final vote.
Outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova expressed “profound regret” at the U.S. decision and tried to defend UNESCO’s reputation. The organization is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions, but also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, and to defend media freedom.
Bokova called the U.S.’s planned departure a loss for “the United Nations family” and for multilateralism. The U.S. and UNESCO matter to each other more than ever now with “the rise of violent extremism and terrorism,” she said.
The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member state in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes. The U.S. now owes about $550 million in back payments.
In a statement, the State Department said the decision will take effect Dec. 31, 2018, and that the U.S. will seek a “permanent observer” status instead. It cited U.S. belief in “the need for fundamental reform in the organization.”
Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel also plans to withdraw from the agency, saying it had become a “theater of the absurd because instead of preserving history, it distorts it.”
Israel has been irked by resolutions that diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and have instead named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.
Praising Trump’s decision as “brave and moral,” Netanyahu said he has ordered Israeli diplomats to prepare for Israel’s withdrawal from the organization in concert with the Americans.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, also praised Washington’s move as heralding “a new day at the U.N., where there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.”
“The United States stands by Israel and is a true leader for change at the U.N,” Danon said. “The alliance between our two countries is stronger than ever.”
U.S. officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision and it was not discussed with other countries. The officials were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the issue.
Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called UNESCO’s July designation of Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory the latest of many “foolish actions” that had made the agency “a chronic embarrassment.”
Haley also criticized UNESCO for “keeping Syrian dictator Bashar Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protesters”
The United States has pulled out of UNESCO before. The Reagan administration did in 1984 because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The U.S. rejoined in 2003.
The State Department informed Bokova it intends to stay engaged at UNESCO as a non-member “observer state” on “non-politicized” issues, including the protection of World Heritage sites, advocating for press freedoms and promoting scientific collaboration and education.
“We will be carefully watching how the organization and the new director-general steers the agency,” Charge d’Affaires Chris Hegadorn, the ranking U.S. representative to UNESCO, told The Associated Press. “Ideally, it steers it in way that U.S. interests and UNESCO’s mandate will converge.”
UNESCO’s 58-member executive board plans to select Bokova’s successor from among three finalists remaining from the field of seven candidates under consideration at the beginning of the week.
Along with al-Kawari, Qatar’s former culture minister, the finalists are Audrey Azoulay, a former culture minister in France, and former Egyptian government minister Moushira Khattab. The board’s pick then goes to the full UNESCO general assembly next month for final approval.
Lee reported from Washington. Edith M. Lederer in New York, Aron Heller in Jerusalem and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
Have you noticed that, immediately after an Islamic terrorist attack in our nation, the airwaves are ablaze with warnings – not against Islamic terrorism but against Islamophobia. So, the fear is not that there will be more terrorist attacks. The fear is that people will be fearful of Muslims. That is misguided enough (although I too deplore when the larger Muslim community is blamed for what the radical extremists do). But what just happened in Bondi, Australia takes this illogicality to a whole new level.
As reported on News.com.au, “A LOCAL council has banned the construction of a synagogue in Bondi because it could be a terrorist target, in a shock move that religious leaders say has caved in to Islamic extremism and created a dangerous precedent.”
Yes, the Jewish community was not allowed to build a new synagogue for fear that it would be targeted by radical Muslims. Talk about a reverse in logic.
The decision had been fought in the courts, but it was upheld this week, leading to outrage and dismay.
“Jewish leaders are shocked the decision appears to suggest they cannot freely practice their religion because they are the target of hate by Islamist extremists — and that the council has used their own risk assessment of the threat posed by IS against it.
“The head of the local Jewish community said the council and the court had effectively stifled freedom of religion and rewarded terrorism.”
As expressed by Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, the “implications [of the decision] are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organisation should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”
Logic would tell you that if terrorism is the problem, you stand against it, not punish potential victims. Logic would tell you that if you bow down to the threat of terrorism, you empower it. What were the people of Bondi thinking?
While the Muslim population of Australia is growing rapidly, it still constitutes only 2.6 percent of the population, and the Australian media constantly defends Islam as a religion of peace. Why, then, so much fear? If the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, why be afraid to build a synagogue in Bondi? Is the government not able to deal with a handful of radicalized, violent Muslims?
In Muslim majority nations where strict Islam is practiced, Jews and Christians are reduced to second-class citizens, having to pay the jizya tax and deprived of the right to build new synagogues and churches. Yet today, in Australia, where non-Muslims outnumber Muslims by roughly 40 to 1, a Jewish community cannot build a new synagogue. To ask again, what kind of logic is this?
In years past, I have pointed out the hypocrisy of feminists and LGBT activists siding against Israel and with Hamas, as well as the absurdity of portraying Hamas as the victim. As I noted in 2014, “As the standard, anti-Israel, pro-Hamas narrative goes, Israel has the Iron Dome defense whereas Hamas has no such defensive shield. In other words, it’s not fair that Hamas is unable to murder the civilians it targets day and night, since Israel’s superior technology is able to shoot down their missiles. Talk about taking all the fun out of terrorism.”
Others have pointed to the self-contradictory message sent by Islamic extremists who say, “How dare you call us terrorists! We will kill you! Off with your heads!”
Yes, nice guys, one and all. How did we misjudge them?
When it comes to the outrageous decision in Bondi, local Jewish leader Vic Alhadeff said it well: “This simply shows how we’re all losing our freedoms. Those who want us to be afraid are winning, and this ill-conceived judgment represents a dangerous precedent.”
And do you know who should lead the protest against the court’s decision? It is the Muslims of Australia. They should say as one man, “We renounce terrorism, we believe in freedom of religion, and we affirm your right to build a new house of worship. In fact, we want to stand with you to combat radical Islam, and we pledge our help and support.”
Does that have a chance of happening? We shall see, although it may be highly unlikely. (I’d be thrilled to be wrong here in my skepticism.)
But there’s another group that most certainly can and should stand up, and that is the Christian community of Australia. Let them raise their voices and shout to this beleaguered Jewish community, “Bondi is not a ghetto, and Australia is not a war zone. Together, we will stand for freedom, liberty, and safety.”
What a message this would send to the Jewish people of Australia and beyond.
As Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” film heads toward $400 million in earnings after debuting in early June, and numerous big-name musical acts line up to perform in Israel this summer, the influence of the BDS movement’s cultural boycott of the Jewish state appears to be waning.
Gadot, who served in the IDF, has drawn ire from anti-Israel activists worldwide for her vocal support of Israel. Yet despite BDS campaigns to boycott “Wonder Woman” in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Algeria due to the “Zionist” actress’s leading role, Gadot’s Marvel comic superhero movie soared to success—earning $103.1 million in North America during its first weekend—and received overwhelmingly positive reviews.
On the musical front, while leading artists routinely receive BDS pressure to cancel their shows in Israel, the number of star-studded acts scheduled to perform in the Jewish state this summer is unprecedented.
“Most artists understand that boycott campaigns in this case are racist and destructive, and will not lead to peace,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education organization StandWithUs, told JNS.org.
“Not only is the boycott movement against Israel a failure among performing artists, but 21 [U.S.] states have already passed anti-BDS legislation because it is viewed as discriminatory and harmful,” she added.
In May, the Aerosmith rock band and pop star Justin Bieber both performed at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, resisting BDS petitions signed by thousands to cancel their concerts in Israel. Adding to their defiance of the boycott movement, the Aerosmith rockers met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem. “You don’t want to miss a thing,” Netanyahu told the band when recommending places to visit in Israel, a reference to the group’s first number-one hit.
“Artists that come to Israel have understood that people are trying to take advantage of them because of hatred and for narrow political needs….[At their performances] they see a young, liberal, open audience…and feel that attempts to make them boycott Israel do not give credit to their intelligence,” Lior Weintraub, vice president of The Israel Project educational organization, told JNS.org.
Besides the Bieber and Aersomith performances, big-name shows hitting Israel this summer include Tom Jones, Armin van Buuren, Britney Spears, the Pixies, Guns N’ Roses, Rod Stewart, Lil Wayne, Radiohead and comedian Chris Rock.
Ahead of Radiohead’s July 19 performance in Tel Aviv, the band publicly clashed with the de facto frontman of the BDS movement, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, over the cultural boycott of Israel.
The public spat was instigated when Waters, along with South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, published an open letter on Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day demanding that Radiohead cancel its performance in Israel.
The letter, co-signed by dozens of artists, stated, “By playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, U.N. rapporteurs say, ‘A system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’…Please do what artists did in South Africa’s era of oppression: stay away, until apartheid is over.”
Radiohead’s lead singer, Thom Yorke—who rarely speaks with the media—responded furiously to the letter in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
Yorke lambasted critics of Radiohead who assumed he and his bandmates were ignorant about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and condemned Waters for “throw[ing] the word ‘apartheid’ around.”
“The kind of dialogue that [BDS activists] want to engage in is one that’s black or white. I have a problem with that,” said Yorke, who added it is “really upsetting that artists I respect think we are not capable of making a moral decision ourselves after all these years….There’s an awful lot of people who don’t agree with the BDS movement, including us. I don’t agree with the cultural ban at all.”
Creative Community for Peace co-founder David Renzer told JNS.org, “We are pleased to see the continuation of major international artists performing in Israel, despite the ongoing efforts of the BDS movement and artists such as Roger Waters.”
Renzer, whose organization works “behind the scenes” to provide support to artists performing in Israel, added, “Thankfully, artists are recognizing that the arts are a powerful means to building bridges and aren’t allowing themselves to be manipulated.”
As with the car and stabbing attacks on the Westminster Bridge on March 22, 2017, media reports on Saturday night highlighted the terrorists’ “new tactic” of using cars to mow down a large number of pedestrians, and knives to stab as many as they can. There is nothing new about this tactic. As with other forms of terrorism, the Palestinians used them first on Israeli civilians. Despite decades of advancing Palestinian terrorist tactics in Israel (suicide belts and vests, and car bombs with nails and screws, car mowing pedestrians, and stabbing, to name but a few), the political leadership of most Western nations seemed oblivious to the emerging patterns of Islamic terrorism. They failed to recognize their jihad against Israel for the deadly contagious disease they spread. This has been going on for decades.
Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to stop, Arab and Western nations have been rewarding the Palestinians who employ terrorists and fund their activities with billions of dollars while pressuring Israel for concessions. Incredibly, since the rise of global Islamic radicalism, the Palestinians have successfully managed to falsely argue that the creation of the state of Palestine, an Islamic terrorist state, would somehow influence other radical Islamic groups to give up their jihad. The Saudis and the Gulf States that have been funding the Palestinian jihadists know better, but are finding it difficult to change their longtime habits, they apparently encouraged President Trump to renege on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel by relocating the American embassy to the city, while legitimizing the Palestinian leaderships that fund terrorism. (The Saudi agreement to purchase some $400 billion worth of U.S. weapons and technology has probably helped their appeal).
The Saturday night Islamic terrorist car and knives attack in East London should signal the end of multiculturalism in England. But don’t hold your breath.
For many decades, radical Islamist ideology was allowed to flourish in England, mostly under the guise of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli activities. Those, however, allowed the expansion of Islamic networks with Saudi and Gulf funding of mosques, madrassas, and Islamic centers and with Muslim Brotherhood political guiding laid down a global network. After the 9/11 al Qaeda attacks on America and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan supported by the United Kingdom and Canada, Islamic organizations in Britain, including the Palestinians, have increased their activities, raising money for future widows and orphans and expanded their base through the dawa.
Law enforcement officials privately voiced their concern but there was no political will to confront the problem. Not even after fifteen Islamic terrorist attacks beginning on July 7, 2005, on London’s transportation systems killing 52 and wounding many others.
The threat of Islamic takeover has been clear to many and mostly ignored by British politicians. A few, like Baroness Cox, protested the imposition of Sharia courts in England. In March 2014 she described the Islamic modus operandi: Sharia law, imported from theocracies like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, began to be used here in a strictly limited form, dealing mainly with narrow issues like Islamic financial contracts. But as the Muslim population has grown, and the pervasive creed of multiculturalism has become ever more powerful, so Sharia law has rapidly grown in influence within some communities. ‘There are now estimated to be no fewer than 85 Sharia courts across the country — from London and Manchester to Bradford and Nuneaton. They operate mainly from mosques, settling financial and family disputes according to [Islamic} religious principles.” The government of David Cameron, like that of Tony Blair before, paid little attention and refused to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been collecting funds for Hamas for decades.
Radical Islam spreads in large Muslim communities everywhere in the West. The Islamic ideology is preached and enforced in Mosques and schools, usually with no interference from the local secular authorities. For example, on May 18, 2015, sharia became the law officially in the Muslim-majority Barking & Dagenham Borough in East London, where the Metropolitan Police has been hunting for potential supporters of the latest car and knife attacks this past Saturday night that killed seven and injured at least 48 people, many critically.
At that time, the local council took this step to “welcome our Muslim immigrants and nourish a multicultural society.” Imposing sharia on all residents, Muslim and non-Muslim alike prohibited “the consumption of pork or alcohol. All businesses required to desist all their operation during Islamic prayer time, or else they will incur fines. All women, whether they are Muslim or not required to wear hijabs (the local government [was] in the process of sewing tens of thousands for non-Muslim women)” Representatives of the council saw the move to Sharia “as a natural next step.” Moreover, Linda Gayle, a local representative declared: “It was only a matter of time before Sharia Law became reality in London and we’re happy to be the forerunners of this very tolerant and multicultural governing process. Barking is home to tens of thousands of Muslims, and we could no longer ignore the richness that they have brought to our little part of town. Implementing Sharia Law is honoring all the people of Muslim faith who make this community thrive. Now they will finally feel home!” The Saturday night attacks on the infidels was another bloody reminder that radical Muslims do not honor others.
Prime Minister Theresa May described Saturday’s attackers as bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.” She went on to say: “It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy, and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.” She was right. Islam, as taught and practiced today is incompatible with Western values. And unless is it forced to change it will continue to incite for jihad. It’s about time to declare war on all Jihadists.
Four JNF-USA delegations came for a one-week tour of Israel, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.
The delegations included key donors, a young leadership group and Christian lovers of Israel. Every group had a different program and different goals, but they are all united in their love for Israel. All in all, there were 200 people across all four groups, and came together on two special occasions: the national Jerusalem Day ceremony held on Ammunition Hill, and a moving memorial ceremony at the 9/11 Twin Towers Memorial in the Jerusalem Park.
The Young Leadership Track delegation included 35 young Americans, the next generation of community leaders. With the Positively Israel: Interfaith Mission group, the focus was on multiculturalism. The President’s Society Mission included about 70 important donors. The Spirit of Israel delegation included 65 participants, among them JNF USA donors and friends.
The delegations were accompanied by JNF-USA executives, such as CEO Russell Robinson, Outgoing President Jeffrey Levine, Incoming President Dr. Sol Lizerbram, and Vice President of Campaigns and Major Gifts Chairman Bruce Gould.
The Positively Israel mission toured Israel for a week. The group members, both from Jewish and general communities in the USA, visited Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Masada, Acre, Atlit, Ein Hod, Caesarea and many other sites. Along the way, they met Israelis of different religions and were impressed by the unique connection between the cultures and faiths.
The delegation was headed by Nora Gonzalez from Texas and Ann Zinman from Arizona. “Ever since I was a little girl in Mexico, I’ve always felt this deep love for Israel” said Gonzalez. “For me, the opportunity to lead a group of Jews and non-Jews in a visit to the Holy Land really means coming full circle. This is a reminder that it doesn’t matter where we came from, and what we believe in, we all have one God. It is very important for us that the Jewish People knows it has many supporters. We want to show the Christians who the Jewish People truly is. We feel connected here not just to the history and roots of our faith, but to Israel’s contemporary challenges as well. It is a privilege to support Israel and be a part of its vision.”
Members of the young leadership group did not come to Israel as tourists here to visit the main attractions of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea and Masada. They traveled all over the country, got to know the communities living in Israel’s geographic periphery, learned about JNF USA’s contribution to the development of Israel and also inaugurated new projects.
The delegation visited Ben Gurion’s hut in Sde Boker, the Ramon Crater, the pioneering Haluza communities, the Aleh Negev Rehabilitation Village and Gush Etzion. On their last day in Israel, before returning to their respective homes, the members of the young leadership group planted trees together at Neot Kedumim.
“Planting a tree in Israel is a very special experience, and to me, the trees signify Israel’s future growth,” said Andy Stein, 29 years old from Chicago. “During this past week we’ve learned so much about JNF and we’re in awe of all the wonderful work it does here.”
ISIS is recruiting an army of AK-47-brandishing women from the West who are just as bloodthirsty as the men they are marrying. Calling themselves “lionesses of Allah,” they are thought to now number more than 600, and they’re bearing the next generation of terrorists, whom they call “cubs of the caliphate.”
Many of these women are true believers who trust that even with horrific gore and bloodshed, they are helping carry out the holy work of Allah in restoring the ancient Islamic caliphate, and that once it’s reestablished, all believers will live in peace and harmony under Islamic rule.
Jones, who in her youth was a guitarist for an all-girl rock band, Krunch,
has also been implicated in two foiled plots to kill Americans and is training her young son to follow in her footsteps.
She and other Western women are actively recruiting like-minded “si
sters” to their twisted cause. Their primary duty is “to raise the next generation of lions in Islamic State,” as Jone
s’ good friend, Umm Muthanna al-Britani, another young British woman, put it in a tweet.
And ISIS pays them a generous stipend for each “cub” they deliver
($25 for each child per month, plus a $400 maternity bonus, and a $500 marriage bonus). This is a strategic m
ove. With more of its men killed in battle, the terror group has to ensure its longevity.
But these moms celebrate death more than life. In fact, they incite their “brothers” to suicidal violence, even reminding them of the supposed heavenly rewards for achieving martyrdom while killing infidels. As Umm Osama, an online friend of Muthanna, once tweeted: “when you get so excited hoping for 7ooris” — the famous “72 virgins” — “remember this n say ‘Marhrah adDugma’ (u can do it).”
They don’t shed a tear if they lose a husband. If he dies in battle, they are “instantly transformed into a hero — the wife of a martyr,” or “shaheed,” Center for Terrorism and Security Studies fellow Mia Bloom said.
ISIS rewards such widows well. “U dnt hav 2 pay 4 ANYTHING if u r wife of a shaheed,” one Western woman in Syria wrote.
Increasingly, the women cadres in ISIS are seeking to enter and die on the battlefield themselves, following in the path of their idol, Tashfeen Malik, who pledged allegiance to ISIS before helping her husband massacre 14 innocent people gathered at a 2015 Christmas office party in San Bernardino, Calif.
They routinely tweet and message out of Syria and Iraq their fervent desire to be “martyred in the cause of Allah.” This is the overriding ambition of Muthanna, for instance. As she stated in a recent tweet, “I came here to die. I will not leave till I get what I came here for: shahadah [martyrdom].”
In a more recent tweet, she made reference to obtaining a suicide belt to make her death wish come true. “Everyone around me is getting shahadah,” she complained in frustration. “When will it be my turn?”
ISIS women, who are known to watch and share gruesome videos of beheadings, appear to have the stomach for it.
Muthanna, for one, cheered the massacre the group carried out in Paris: “Wish I could have seen the hostages being slaughtered last night with my own eyes. Would have been beautiful.”
“Burn Paris burn,” she gushed in another tweet, adding, “LOL HOW SCARED ARE THESE KUFFAR [nonbelievers].”
More and more ISIS brides are being trained to kill. Last month, ISIS reportedly began deploying a deadly new all-female sniper squad to help fighters in Mosul, Iraq, hold off US and Iraqi forces.
More chilling, ISIS has issued a new marriage certificate allowing brides to carry out suicide missions. Under “condition of wife,” it reads: “If the Prince of believers [ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] consents to her carrying out a suicide mission, then her husband should not prohibit her.”
“This may suggest that the group is looking ahead to a similar transition in using female cadres for suicide missions,” International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism Director Anne Speckhard said.
Women pose a more daunting security threat to the West, because authorities in general do not expect violence from them. So they can pass security more easily, sneaking into public places carrying weapons or wearing bombs without raising suspicions, even strapping explosives around their waists to appear pregnant.
With ISIS now losing territory in Iraq and Syria, America and Europe could see not just more battle-hardened ISIS jihadists returning home, but also young women trained for suicide missions.
More than 45 American women are said to have joined or tried to join ISIS in Syria. Many have been busted marrying or attempting to wed ISIS fighters.
“I was horrified that she openly admitted to FBI agents that she seriously considered launching a VIP attack right inside the United States,” said Speckhard, who is also a Georgetown University psychology professor.
ISIS is known for sex slavery, mass rape and other brutally misogynistic practices. So what in the world would attract Western women to its fold?
“It seems unfathomable to most of us that a female would want to join ISIS, but their online propaganda has a major focus on twisting the concept of women’s rights,” said Ryan Mauro, a national-security analyst at the Clarion Project. “You’ll see pictures of fully covered women with guns, as if they are treated as equals in jihad.”
Still, Mauro doesn’t buy the conventional wisdom that most of the young female recruits are lonely or angst-ridden and easily seduced into joining ISIS by charismatic male recruiters, who “groom” them much like online child predators.
“It’s not as simple as a girl having a crush on a man. That’s the easy, politically correct answer,” he said. “There’s obviously another critical ideological element involved, because those are issues facing all teenagers.”
In fact, tweet after tweet from ISIS brides reveal they are less victims than willing participants. They show they plainly know their religion and see living under an Islamic theocracy as superior to the secular democracies of the West.
“NO SISTER leaves the comfort of their homes just to marry some man,” suspected American ISIS recruiter Umm Waqqas wrote. “Muslims from all ages are leaving to live in a REAL Muslim country & live under the shades of Sharia,” or Islamic law.
Consider the teen daughter of the Khan family of Chicago. The FBI caught her trying to join ISIS as a minor. Records show she was convinced she had to pack up and join the jihad, even if it meant giving up her comfortable suburban life.
The daughter was well-grounded in Islam — having even earned at a young age the honor of “hafiz,” for memorizing the entire Quran — long before she watched ISIS videos and decided to forsake America. She left a note explaining she could no longer bear to live in “the land who’s [sic] people mock my Allah, my beloved prophet (saw), the commandments of Allah (swt), his law. The ones who are using my money to kill my brothers and sisters.”
Both “saw” and “swt” are abbreviations for traditional Muslim phrases.
Her tweets indicated she supported ISIS’s violence and even intended to participate in it. Like many female ISIS recruits, she had reasoned through her decision theologically, with little emotion, in spite of the atrocities done in the name of that theology.
Mauro, who is also a counterterrorism professor at Liberty University, points out that female recruits are convinced ISIS is “reflective of Allah’s will,” and that it’s their duty to join its caliphate. Part of that is because ISIS makes a convincing case, scripturally.
“When you look at ISIS propaganda, it’s not just well-produced but well-referenced, with tons of references to Islamic verses and scholars,” he said. “The propaganda presents researched arguments that enable ISIS recruiters to withstand scrutiny from a prospective recruit.”
Plus, the terror group paints an attractive picture of Islamic utopia.
“The ISIS caliphate is portrayed as an ideal society on earth where things are great, with women valued, morals upheld, social services minimize insecurity and newcomers are welcomed into the family,” Mauro added. “And you get to earn a ticket to paradise if you die standing against the infidel to preserve it.”
Jaelyn Delshaun Young, of Vicksburg, Miss., is serving 12 years in federal prison for conspiring to provide
material support to ISIS. In 2015, the 19-year-old former honors student and cheerleader was arrested trying to travel to Syria and join ISIS. A Muslim convert, she sent messages to FBI agents she thought were ISIS members, saying, “I cannot wait to get to Dawlah [ISIS territory] so I can be amongst my brothers and sisters under the protection of Allah swt to raise little Dawlah cubs in sha Allah [God willing].” Young expressed a hatred for US soldiers. The FBI’s criminal complaint said she applauded the 2015 Islamic terrorist attack on military sites in Chattanooga, Tenn., saying in a message: “What make me feel bettee [sic] after just watching the news is that an akhi [brother] carried out an attack against US marines in TN! Alhamdulillah [praise Allah], the numbers of supporters are growing.” The
FBI complaint also revealed that she tried to help ISIS target small, regional US airports. “When we get to Dawlah In sha Allah I can tell you about it,” she wrote.
Hoda Muthana, a Birmingham, Ala., college student, fled to Syria to join ISIS and is now suspected of acting as a recruiter for the group. In recent online messages, Muthana has encouraged other American Muslims to attack their own country. “Terrorize the kuffar at home,” she tweeted, using a derogatory Arabic term for non-Muslims. “Wake up!” “You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping!” Muthana added. “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades.” The devout 21-year-old Muslim reportedly married an ISIS fighter from Australia less than a month after arriving in Syria, but he died only a few months later in an airstrike.
Shannon Maureen Conley is a Denver woman serving a four-year prison sentence for attempting to join ISIS in Syria, where she planned to marry a Tunisian fighter she met online. A Muslim convert, Conley was arrested at age 19 for providing material support to a terrorist group. In interviews with FBI agents, she “repeatedly referred to US military bases as ‘targets,’ ” a criminal complaint says. She said she sought to “wage jihad” and viewed even women and children as “legitimate” targets if they were visiting a military base. “It is OK to harm innocents if they are part of a target,” she said. Conley, who practiced firing rifles at a local shooting range, mentioned attacking a government “motorcade” inside the US. “Conley said she needed to go overseas to be trained in jihad, but did not need to be overseas to wage jihad,” the government’s complaint said. Before her arrest, the hijab-wearing Conley had been on the FBI’s radar for nearly a year, thanks to a complaint filed by a local pastor who feared she was casing his church building for a terrorist attack. She was seen walking the grounds wearing a backpack and taking notes. Asked why she appeared to be targeting the mega church, Conley said, “I hate those people.”
Daniela Greene was an FBI translator in Detroit who secretly married an ISIS leader after converting to Islam. She was supposed to be investigating the federally designated terrorist Denis Cuspert, but instead sneaked off to Syria, married Cuspert and warned him that “the FBI had an open investigation into his activities,” recently unsealed court records show. The 38-year-old Greene, who held top-secret security clearance, is also suspected of sharing intelligence with the high-value target. The Clemson University alumna lived with Cuspert for 30 days before authorities arrested her. Cuspert, a native of Berlin, is a known ISIS recruiter who has appeared in ISIS propaganda videos, including one in which he appears to be holding a severed head that he claims belonged to a man executed for opposing the ISIS “caliphate.” Greene served just two years in prison for her traitorous actions and is now out on supervised release.
Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”