“Why Palestinians Should Learn About the Holocaust.” An important op-ed I encourage you to read and share with others.

NYT_home_banner(Washington, D.C.) — This excellent column was recently published in the New York Times. It was written by Robert Satloff and Mohammed Dajani Doudi. I commend it to your attention.

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Should Palestinian and other Arab schools teach their students about the Holocaust?

This is not an academic question. Many Palestinian and Arab political organizations recently pounced on reports that a new human rights curriculum being prepared for use in Gaza schools operated by Unrwa, the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees, might include historical references to the Holocaust. Their reaction underscores the urgency of answering this fundamental question: Should Palestinians (and other Arabs) learn about the Holocaust? Should this historical tragedy be included in the Arab curriculum?

We — a Muslim-Palestinian social scientist, and a Jewish-American historian — believe the answer is yes. Indeed, there are many reasons why it’s important, even essential, that Arabs learn about the Holocaust. And much of this has nothing to do with Jews at all.

One of the sad realities of many modern Arab societies is that Arab students have been denied history, their own and the world’s. For decades, millions of Arabs have lived under autocrats resentful of the legacy of the leader they replaced and fearful of the leader-to-come. Although Arabs revere the study, writing and teaching of history, and have produced many famous historians, their rulers often tend to view history as a threat. The result is that many historians in Arab countries are more like the court chroniclers of long-dead dynasties, and entire chapters of history have been expunged from the curricula that Arab governments teach their students.

This is particularly true of the Holocaust. A world that has known terrible atrocities has seen none greater than the effort by Nazi Germany and its allies to exterminate the Jewish people. So methodical, so vicious and so exhaustive was the Nazi effort that a new word was coined to describe it — “genocide.” All genocides before and since are judged against the Holocaust. To the extent that we can prevent genocide in the future — an uphill task, given the record of the last few decades — understanding what gives rise to it is essential. Without discussing the Holocaust, discussing genocide is meaningless.

But Palestinians, and Arabs more generally, know little about the Holocaust and what they do know is often skewed by the perverted prism of Arab popular culture, from the ranting of religious extremists to the distortions of certain satellite television channels to the many ill-informed authors. What happened to the Jews during World War II is not taught in Arab schools or universities, either as part of world history or as a lesson in genocide awareness or as an atrocity that ought not to be repeated. Arabs have nothing to fear from opening their eyes to this chapter of human history. As the Koran says: “And say: My Lord, advance me in knowledge.” If Arabs knew more about the Holocaust in particular and genocide in general, perhaps Arab voices would be more forceful in trying to stop similar atrocities.

Palestinians have more specific reasons to learn about the Holocaust. We do not urge Holocaust education just so Palestinians can understand more sympathetically the legacy of Jewish suffering and its impact on the psyche of the Jewish people. While it is important for both Palestinians and Israelis to appreciate the historical legacies that have shaped their strategic outlook and national identities, teaching Palestinians about the Holocaust for this reason alone runs the risk the feeding the facile equation that “the Jews have the Holocaust and the Palestinians have the Nakba.” We urge Palestinians to learn about the Holocaust so they can be armed with knowledge to reject the comparison because, if it were broadly avoided, peace would be even more attainable than it is today.

With all the suffering Palestinians have endured, their struggle with Israel is still, at its core, a political conflict, one that can end through diplomacy and agreements. Today diplomacy is deadlocked, yet the nature of politics is that tomorrow that reality may change. The Holocaust was not a political conflict: the very idea of a “Nazi-Jewish peace process” is absurd. Teaching the Holocaust to Palestinians is a way to ensure they do not go down the blind alley of believing their peace process with Israel is as hopeless as one would have been between Nazis and Jews. Discussion of the Holocaust would underscore the idea that peace is attainable.

Almost two years ago millions of Muslim Arabs listened carefully when President Barack Obama, speaking in Cairo, respectfully recited sentences from the Koran and proclaimed America’s endorsement of a two-state solution to achieve a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Few, however, remember that he also condemned Holocaust denial. Now that the Arab masses are applying the universal lessons of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in taking down their authoritarian governments, it is time they take back the learning of history, too. That includes teaching their children the universal lessons of the Holocaust.

Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi is the founder of the Wasatia movement, which promotes moderation in Islam, and the director of the American Studies department at Al-Quds University. Robert Satloff is executive director of the Washington Institute and the author of “Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Must read: “More Christians died for the faith in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen centuries of Christian history combined.”

Jesus-onthecrossRead a sobering yet fascinating article this morning about the magnitude of Christian persecution in our age. It was written by George Weigel, the distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Weigel is Catholic and writes from this vantage point in an on-line magazine called, First Things.

Regardless of whether you’re Catholic or Protestant, however, it is worth noting what Weigel is saying, especially in light of Christ’s warning in Matthew 24 that persecution will increase in the last days before His return.

Let us be praying faithfully for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, and around the world.

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Excerpts from article by George Weigel:

We have been living, and we’re living now, in the greatest era of persecution in Christian history.

More Christians died for the faith in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen centuries of Christian history combined.

And while the character of the persecutors has changed, from the lethal heyday of the twentieth-century totalitarianisms to the first decades of the twenty-first century, the assault on the Christian faithful today is ongoing, extensive, and heart-rending.

Solidarity with the persecuted Church is an obligation of Christian faith. Reflecting on how well each of us has lived that obligation is a worthy point on which to examine one’s conscience during Lent. And that brings me to a suggestion….spend ten minutes a day reading John Allen’s new book, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.

 The longtime Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and CNN’s senior Vatican analyst, Allen has recently moved to the Boston Globe as associate editor, where he (and we) will see if talent and resources can combine to deepen a mainstream media outlet’s coverage of all things Catholic, both in print and on the Web.

Meanwhile, Allen will continue the Roman work that has made him the best Anglophone Vatican reporter ever—work that has given him a unique perspective on the world Church, and indeed on world Christianity.

His extensive experience across the globe, and his contacts with everyone who’s anyone in the field of international religious freedom issues, makes him an ideal witness to what he calls, without exaggeration, a global war on Christian believers.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

More people read Facebook daily than the Bible. How about you?

(Washington, D.C.) — “More Americans check Facebook daily than read the Bible and it has more monthly users worldwide than most continents have people,” reports AP.

How about you? Social media can be fun and fascinating. But as 2014 begins, how much time are you investing in reading the Word of God and building a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

  • “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
  • “Now these [Bereans] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
  • “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Excerpts from the article:

  • Facebook, which celebrates its 10th anniversary Tuesday, says worldwide it has 757 million daily active users. Of those 19 percent are in the U.S. and Canada, so that’s more than 143 million people checking Facebook daily.
  • The Bible used to be the go-to for statistics about reading, pre-digital age. A 2006 CBS News poll found 15 percent of U.S. adults read the Bible or other religious texts daily. There are about 267 million adults in the U.S. and Canada. That means about 40 million people reading the Bible daily.
  • And then there are monthly users — Facebook claims 1.23 billion of them. That’s more people than live in any country but China. In fact, Facebook is beyond comparing to nations and is more continental in magnitude. Facebook’s monthly user population is larger than six of the seven continents, only behind Asia.
  • Facebook’s monthly user total is about the population of all of North America and Europe combined.

>> The Joshua Fund’s 2013 Epicenter Conference focused on the importance of reading, studying and teaching the Bible and “The Power of the Word.” For more details, or to watch videos of each message at the conference, please click here.


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Canadian PM Harper visits the epicenter. Tells Israel: “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.” Brings delegation of 208 Canadians, including Rabbis & Pastors. Also, read full text of Harper address.

harper-net-flagsAt a time when so many world leaders are turning away from Israel and trying to isolate the Jewish state, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper – an evangelical Christian and the most pro-Israel world leader on the planet at this time — arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday for his first visit, telling the Israeli people, “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”

Harper was given the red carpet treatment by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with whom he has become a close and personal friend, as well as a staunch and reliable ally. He and his wife, Laureen, dined with Netanyahu and his wife, Sara. The Harpers also toured several Christian holy sites, and plan to visit several more — including sites around the Sea of Galilee — during their trip.

Harper brought with him a delegation of 208 Canadians, including 21 Rabbis, 27 CEOs of Canadian companies, as well as numerous evangelical pastors and Catholic priests.

On Monday, Harper became the first Canadian Prime Minister in history to address the Israeli Knesset. He reaffirmed the importance of Israel as ”a Jewish state,” and was given a standing ovation for his long-standing and warm friendship and support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

“It is right to support Israel because after generations of persecutions the Jewish people deserve their own homeland,” Harper told the Israeli parliament. “I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary. An innovative, world-leading ‘start-up’ nation. You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land, one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own. In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our Government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life. And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”

To read the text of his extraordinary speech, please click here (scroll to the bottom of the Haaretz article where the video of the speech is located).

Harper met with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday morning. Later this week, he will visit Jordan and meet with King Abdullah II in Amman, deeply committed as he is to encouraging peace between Israel and the Arab people.

“Prime Minister Harper, my good friend Stephen, welcome to Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu said on Sunday upon welcoming Harper at his office, reported Israel Hayom. “I have to say, Stephen, that you are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I’m not just saying that — I mean it deeply from the bottom of my heart and I speak for all the people of Israel….This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership. When it comes to fighting terrorism, you know that there cannot be any politically correct double talk, but only unequivocal condemnation and united international action….When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike. And when it comes to Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons — you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history.”

“Touching on the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” Israel Hayom noted, Netanyahu told Harper, “You recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice, Stephen, has been an indispensable one,” Netanyahu said. “So the people of Israel and I deeply appreciate your friendship and the friendship of the people of Canada to us.”


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Thank you for blessing the poor & needy in Israel. Read The Joshua Fund’s 2013 Donor Report online to learn more about the difference you’re making.

TJF-donorrpt2013

>> If you would like to make a tax-deductible, year-end financial gift to The Joshua Fund, we would be very grateful. You give securely on-line by clicking here.

Dear faithful friend of The Joshua Fund –

Because of you — through your faithful prayers and generous financial support — the Lord has touched the lives of thousands of Jewish and Arab families in the epicenter in real and practical ways with the love of Jesus Christ.

A few examples:

  • By God’s grace, The Joshua Fund provided food and other relief supplies to more than 43,940 poor and needy Jewish and Arab families this year — an increase of more than 4% over 2012.
  • Two new distribution centers have just opened, bringing us to a total of 14 centers distributing relief supplies throughout Israel. We are prayerfully considering opening 2 or 3 new distribution centers in 2014.
  • We have had the honor of helping Christian ministries that are doing relief work among refugees escaping the civil war in Syria.
  • TJF has also planned and funded retreats for pastors and ministry leaders, and provided biblical training, encouragement and refreshment for those serving throughout the epicenter region.

On our website, www.joshuafund.net, we have posted the 2013 Donor Report to give you a sense of the many projects you have helped to fund in 2013, and get a glimpse of the lives the Lord has blessed because of you.

We have also posted a short video message I recently taped sharing some of the highlights of the Donor Report.

I hope you will pour yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee and sit down beside the fireplace and watch the video and read through the report. In the process, I hope you will be encouraged by what God has done through your investment.

From all of us on the Board and staff of The Joshua Fund — both here in North America and in Israel — thank you so much for standing with us. We count it a great privilege to serve you in this work.

Yours for blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Founder and President, The Joshua Fund

>> If you would like to make a generous, tax-deductible, year-end financial gift to The Joshua Fund, we would be very grateful. You give securely on-line by clicking here.

Or, you can send a check in the mail. Please make your check payable to “The Joshua Fund” and send to:

  • The Joshua Fund
  • PO Box 2589
  • Monument, CO  80132-2589


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog