Leaflets ordering Jews to register in east Ukraine city or be deported creating fear. Threat evocative of 1930s. Pro-Russian separatists say order isn’t real. But someone is trying to scare Ukrainian Jews. The question is: Who?

ukraine-mapUPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — There is a deeply disturbing article in the USA Today that I encourage you to read and share with others. It reports that leaflets are being spread throughout the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk saying that government officials controlled by pro-Russian forces are ordering Jews to register with local authorities and pay a fee, or they could be deported and their assets could be confiscated.

Secretary of State John Kerry today called such actions “intolerable” and “grotesque.” But pro-Russian separatists flatly deny the allegations that they have been distributing leaflets requiring Jews to register. 

The leaflets exist. They’ve been spread all over the city of Donetsk. They’re even printed on official government stationary and they bear the signature of the mayor. But the mayor says he didn’t write it. So who did? Are they a hoax, or official policy?

One thing is clear: someone is targeting the Jewish people of Ukraine, trying to instill fear in them, and trying to get them to leave the country.

The threat left many of the 15,000 Jews of Donetsk ‘shocked and hysterical,’ the chief rabbi of the city told The Daily Beast in an interview on Thursday,” reports the Daily Beast. “He pointed out where one of the leaflets had been left on a tree outside his synagogue on Oktiabskaya Street. In all of his 20-year service in Donetsk, Rabbi Pinhas Vyshedski said, he could never imagine that anything as ‘cynical’ and ‘anti-human’ could ever happen to his community.”

Here’s the latest:

That said, given the long history of virulent anti-Semitism in the region, there is reason to be concerned for the safety of the roughly 200,000 Jewish people in Ukraine.

Consider recent headlines:

As I write about in The Auschwitz Escape, Adolf Hitler made similar legal moves against the Jewish people in the early 1930s, separating them out from the rest of the population. We know where it led — the Final Solution and the gas chambers a few years later. We cannot yet say where the leaders of Donetsk are going with this, but clearly such moves bode ill.

Please pray for the Jewish people in Crimea and throughout Ukraine, for safety and protection and for the Lord to truly bless them amidst this crisis and beyond.

Please also pray for Israeli leaders and other Jewish leaders as they determine how to respond to these developments, should they prove to be true. Is it possible that soon Israel will have to begin airlifting Jews out of Ukraine? If that happens, the Christian community must stand with the Jewish people and help in every way.

Here’s one of the key news reports that set off the international furor:

Jews ordered to register in east Ukraine

By Oren Dorrell, USA Today, April 17, 2014

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia, according to Israeli media.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

Donetsk is the site of an “anti-terrorist” operation by the Ukraine government, which has moved military columns into the region to force out militants who are demanding a referendum be held on joining Russia.

The leaflets bore the name of Denis Pushilin, who identified himself as chairman of “Donetsk’s temporary government,” and were distributed near the Donetsk synagogue and other areas, according to the report.

Pushilin acknowledged the flyers were distributed by his organization but he disavowed their content, according to the web site Jews of Kiev, Ynet reported.

Emanuel Shechter, in Israel, told Ynet his friends in Donetsk sent him a copy of the leaflet through social media.

“They told me that masked men were waiting for Jewish people after the Passover eve prayer, handed them the flyer and told them to obey its instructions,” he said.

The leaflet begins, “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality,” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”

It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.

The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”

Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship bein g revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.” A registration fee of $ 50 would be required, it said.

Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk, told Ynet she never experienced anti-Semitism in the city until she saw this leaflet.

“We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists,” she said. “The text reminds of the fascists in 1941,” she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

But the Russian side has used the sceptre of anti-Semitism in a cynical manner since anti-government protests began in Kiev that resulted in the ousting of Ukraine’s pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovych. Russia and its allies in Ukraine issued multiple stories about the the threat posed to Jews by Ukraine’s new pro-Western government in Kiev, Salberg said.

Those stories were based in part on ultra-nationalists who joined the Maidan protests, and the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Svoboda party in Ukraine’s new interim government. But the threat turned out to be false, he said.

Svoboda’s leadership needs to be monitored, but so far it has refrained from anti-Semitic statements since joining the government, he said. And the prevalence of anti-Semitic acts has not changed since before the Maidan protests, according to the ADL and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, which monitors human rights in Ukraine.

Distributing such leaflets is a recruitment tool to appeal to the xenophobic fears of the majority, to enlist them to your cause and focus on a common enemy, the Jews,” Salberg said.

And by targeting Donetsk’s Jews, they also send a message to all the region’s residents, Salberg said.

“The message is a message to all the people that is we’re going to exert our power over you,” he said. “Jews are the default scapegoat throughout history for despots to send a message to the general public: Don’t step out of line.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Why do tyrants from Haman and Hitler to Hamas and Khamenei want to “annihilate” the Jews?

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1938. (Photo by AP/Haaretz)

German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 30, 1938. (Photo by AP/Haaretz)

(Tampa, Florida) — Why do tyrants throughout history want to “annihilate” the Jewish people?

With Jews around the world celebrating the biblical holiday of Purim this past weekend – and in light of the release of my new novel, The Auschwitz Escape, tomorrow — I addressed this question last night as I taught from the Book of Esther at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida.

Some notes from my message:

From Haman to Hitler to Hamas to Khamenei, evil men throughout history have not simply opposed or disagreed with the Jewish people.

Again and again they have used the language of “annihilation” and they have pursued policies to accomplish this diabolical mission.

HAMAN — Consider what the Bible teaches about this evil Persian leader sought to do in ancient times.

“When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. But he disdained to [simply] lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were; therefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, who were throughout the whole kingdom….Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder. A copy of the edict to be issued as law in every province was published to all the peoples so that they should be ready for this day.” (Esther 3:5-6, 13-14)

HITLER — “Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into
a world war, then the result will be…the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.” — Adolf Hitler, January 30, 1939 (quoted in Haaretz, January 30, 2014)

HAMAS– “Let me congratulate you on your future victory and the annihilation of Israel.” — Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hammad (January 24, 2014, Times of Israel)

KHAMENEI

EXAMPLES OF OTHER TYRANTS:

  • “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (August 2, 2012, Jerusalem Post)
  • “God will gather Israelis so we can kill them….these Israelis are an advanced instrument of evil.” — Fatah leader Abbas Zaki, advisor to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas (March 13, 2014, Times of Israel)

WHAT LESSONS CAN WE DRAW?

The Bible teaches that throughout history, Satan has raised up leaders like Haman who are Hell-bent on annihilating the Jewish people.

The Bible also teaches that throughout history, God raises up servants like Mordechai & Esther who are heaven-sent to help rescue the Jewish people.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible makes clear that Satan hates the Jewish people.

Yet the Scriptures also make clear that God has always loved the Jewish people, even though we have not always loved, obeyed or followed Him.

Consider Jeremiah 31:1-3  – “’At that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.’  Thus says the Lord, ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness — Israel, when it went to find its rest.’ The Lord appeared to him[Israel] from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’”

Consider, too, Genesis 12:1-3, when the Lord makes a profound covenant with Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, promising to bless him, and bless all the families of the world through his seed. Then the Lord vows to “bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you.”

One of the most important verses to understand why tyrants want to annihilate Israel and the Jewish people comes from the New Testament. 

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

In one verse, we get such concise theology on the nature of Satan in sharp contrast to the nature of Jesus.

  • Satan is a thief — he comes to steal, kill and destroy.
  • But Jesus comes to give all people — Jews and Gentiles — an abundant, meaningful, peaceful, joyful life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

Here’s how these truths play out throughout history:

  • In His love, God chose the Jewish people to bless them.
  • In his cruelty, Satan chose the Jewish people to curse them.
  • God chose to give the Jewish people the land of Israel.
  • So Satan chose to take the land of Israel away from the Jewish people.
  • God chose to make Jerusalem the City of Peace.
  • So Satan chose to make Jerusalem a city of bloodshed.
  • God chose to make the Temple Mount holy unto His name.
  • So Satan chose to desecrate the Temple Mount.

When we understand the whole counsel of Scripture, we come to understand that Satan is doing everything he can to rob, kill and destroy everything and everyone that God loves and counts as precious — starting with Israel and the Jewish people.

This is why throughout history Satan has raised up tyrants not simply to disagree with or oppose the Jews, but to seek to utterly annihilate them.

These are the constants of history — God’s love for the Jews, and Satan’s hatred for the Jews.

The variable is you.

Which side are you on? Do you love and follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to Israel, born as a Jew, raised as a Jew, lived as a Jew, taught to the Jews, healed the Jews, fulfilled Jewish prophecies, died as a Jew, and rose again on the third day, according to the Jewish Scriptures?

If so, if you have the Holy Spirit in you, then you cannot hate the people whom the Father and Son love so much. It is simply not possible.

A person who hates Jews but calls himself a “Christian” is a liar — he does not truly love and follow Jesus.

Anyone who calls himself or herself a true “Christian” — an honest, humble follower of Jesus — must love the Jewish people with unconditional love, and unwavering support.

We don’t have to agree with everything Israel says or does, or everything that every Jewish person says or does. What’s more, the Bible teaches we must also love the Arabs and the Iranians and all of Israel’s neighbors and enemies. But the Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches us to love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and teaches that the Lord will bless those who do, and curse those who don’t.

This is why studying the Book of Esther is so important. This is why it’s so important to understand why celebrate the biblical holiday of Purim. Because it is in this book and in this holiday that we learn so much about the historical hatred of the Jewish people as well as what it means to love the Lord our God and to love the Jewish people He created and chose, just like Esther and Mordechai did.

“Then Mordecai told…Esther, ‘Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?’” (Esther 4:13-14)

>> To order a copy of The Auschwitz Escape, please click here.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Calls for Government Persecution of Tea Party Groups and Pro-Israel Jews

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Free Speech: The IRS scandal is not only not over but is getting worse, with a call by New York’s senior senator for the already-politicized agency to use its power to tax to destroy the conservative grass-roots movement.

Arguing that the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision allowed Tea Party groups to “funnel millions of undisclosed dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government,” Charles Schumer wants the IRS and other government agencies to take on the Tea Party through their administrative powers.

“It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control, but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies,” Schumer said in a speech before the leftist think tank Center for American Progress.

Calling for the IRS to use its powers to resume war on the First Amendment and free speech he doesn’t like in the hopes of electing more Democrats, Schumer said: “We must redouble those efforts immediately.”

Schumer was the author of the 2010 Disclose Act that failed to make it through Congress but would have required the disclosure of corporate donors to tax-exempt organizations, and membership and donor lists of the groups running “issue” ads.

“The bill was designed to embarrass companies,” Schumer admitted, and its “deterrent effect should not be underestimated.”

Advocating the use of government power to harass and intimidate political opponents is nothing new to Schumer. Along with Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tom Udall of New Mexico and Al Franken of Minnesota, he sent a similar letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in February 2012 asking the IRS to investigate 12 conservative groups he accused of violating their tax-exempt status and engaging in coordinated political activity.

This effort to use government power to fundamentally transform our political system more along the lines of the Venezuelan model includes new IRS rules for 501(c)(4) organizations that would redefine “candidate-related political activity” and make virtually everything such tax-exempt political groups do a taxable activity.

Washington, D.C., attorney Cleta Mitchell, who represents a number of the Tea Party groups targeted by the IRS, says that under the new rules candidate-related activities would cover just about everything a 501(c)(4) typically does, including candidate debates, guides for voting, lobbying at the grass roots, issue advocacy as well as any public statements by officers of 501(c)(4)s that reference incumbents and candidates.

Schumer’s call for government to punish its political enemies comes at the same time the IRS is conducting a Hollywood witch hunt openly targeting for “special scrutiny” a group known as the Friends of Abe. Named after Abraham Lincoln, it has about 1,500 members involved in various aspects of the film industry who meet to discuss politics and listen to conservative leaders.

The group doesn’t engage in overt political activities or endorse candidates. It functions as a sort of a conservative support group for Hollywood conservatives in that liberal bastion and seeks to keep its members’ names secret for fear of career consequences.

Jeremy Boreing, executive director of Friends of Abe, insists his organization has “absolutely no political agenda” and exists only to “create fellowship among like-minded individuals.” What bothers the IRS is the fact the group, which has applied for tax-exempt status, invites largely conservative speakers.

The ability of people to peacefully assemble to petition their government for redress of grievances is under attack as the IRS and Democratic senators continue to ask, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a conservative?”


Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

Are Jews preparing to build the prophetic Third Temple? The Washington Post examines that question today.

TempleMount(Washington, D.C.) — Are Israeli Jews preparing to build the “Third Temple” in Jerusalem in fulfillment of End Times Bible prophecy? If so, who is behind such developments? How are Muslim leaders responding? Could such a move trigger an apocalyptic reaction by the Muslim world against Israel in an already volatile environment?

Such are the questions I’ve explored in fictionally in novels such as The Last Days and The Copper Scroll and Dead Heat

But now such questions are being raised in an intriguing article in the today’s edition of the Washington Post, of all places.

“A small but growing movement by Jewish activists demanding the right to pray at the site of their destroyed temple, in the heart of this disputed capital’s Old City, is creating a potentially explosive clash with the Muslim world, which considers the spot holy and bans Jews from public worship there,” opens the Post article.

Consider some of the extraordinary quotes that follow in the report:

  • “The Temple Mount is ours, and it cannot be argued about or negotiated. . . . It must be open for prayer at every hour, to every Jew,” says Uri Ariel, Israel’s minister of construction and housing.
  • “This place belongs to the Muslim people, and no others have the right to pray here,” says Sheik Azzam al-Khatib, “director of the Waqf, the Islamic trust that administers the site” who says ”the mosque is a unifying symbol for the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims.”
  • “If they [the Jews] try to take over the mosque, this will be the end of time,” Khatib warned. “This will create rage and anger not only in the West Bank but all over the Islamic world — and only God knows what will happen.”
  • “Every citizen of Israel should have the right to pray at their holy sites without harassment or being attacked,” says Miri Regev , a Members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament). “If Jews want to go up to the Temple Mount to pray, they should have that right.”

“A frequent visitor to the site is Rabbi Chaim Richman, a director of the Temple Institute, whose mission is to prepare for the building of the Third Temple where the Dome of the Rock now stands,” reports the Post. “He says he envisions a new temple rising toward the clouds, with underground parking, Internet connectivity, radiant heating for the sanctified floors (the priests, in accordance with Jewish law, will be barefoot), and a return of burnt offerings and animal sacrifice. In April, Richman’s Temple Institute moved to a large, renovated space in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter, overlooking the Western Wall. The project was funded by Henry Swieca, the billionaire American investor, and his wife, Estee.”

“Inside, researchers and artisans have created silver trumpets, wooden lyres and three-pronged forks that would turn over burnt offerings,” the Post noted. “They sewed a priest’s robe with a breastplate of golden thread and 12 precious stones, as described in the Bible and representing the 12 tribes of Israel. There is a golden menorah and an ark for the covenants. And there are architectural plans. Evidence, Muslim leaders say, that proves that the Jews have literal designs on the mount.”

“This is not incitement,” Richman said. “Our mission is to kindle the spark of desire for the time when Jews are a light unto the world, and Muslims will agree it is time to rebuild, and all nations of the world will come to the Jews and ask them to rebuild.”

To read the full article, please click here.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Landmark survey finds only 40% of American Jews believe Israel was “given to the Jewish people by God.”

(Source: Pew Foundation/NYT)

(Source: Pew Foundation/NYT)

(New York, New York) — “The first major survey of American Jews in more than 10 years finds a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish — resulting in rapid assimilation that is sweeping through every branch of Judaism except the Orthodox,” reports the New York Times.  

“The intermarriage rate, a bellwether statistic, has reached a high of 58 percent for all Jews, and 71 percent for non-Orthodox Jews — a huge change from before 1970 when only 17 percent of Jews married outside the faith. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in God and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home last year.”  

“It’s a very grim portrait of the health of the American Jewish population in terms of their Jewish identification,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York.       

The survey, by the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, found that despite the declines in religious identity and participation, American Jews say they are proud to be Jewish and have a “strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people,” noted the Times.

Excerpts:  

  • While 69 percent say they feel an emotional attachment to Israel, and 40 percent believe that the land that is now Israel was “given to the Jewish people by God,” only 17 percent think that the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security.       
  • Jews make up 2.2 percent of the American population, a percentage that has held steady for the past two decades. The survey estimates there are 5.3 million Jewish adults as well as 1.3 million children being raised at least partly Jewish.       
  • The survey uses a wide definition of who is a Jew, a much-debated topic. The researchers included the 22 percent of Jews who describe themselves as having “no religion,” but who identify as Jewish because they have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish, and feel Jewish by culture or ethnicity.       
  • However, the percentage of “Jews of no religion” has grown with each successive generation, peaking with the millennials (those born after 1980), of whom 32 percent say they have no religion.       
  • “It’s very stark,” Alan Cooperman, deputy director of the Pew religion project, said in an interview. “Older Jews are Jews by religion. Younger Jews are Jews of no religion”….
  • In a surprising finding, 34 percent said you could still be Jewish if you believe that Jesus was the Messiah.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog