As Easter approaches, Israel’s UN ambassador warns of “the Middle East war on Christians,” rising persecution in Islamic countries. Notes that Israel’s Christian population is growing.

crossAs Jews celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter this week, Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, has written an excellent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on the intense persecution followers of Jesus Christ are facing in Islamic countries.

He notes that there is an “exodus” of Christians leaving the Middle East today, just as Jews had to flee many Arab countries in the 20th century. That said, he also points out that Israel “is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today, in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.”

I commend the article to your attention, and encourage you to share it with others.

THE MIDDLE EAST WAR ON CHRISTIANS

Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews.

By Amb. Ron Prosor, Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2014

This week, as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday, they are commemorating the Bible’s Exodus story describing a series of plagues inflicted on ancient Egypt that freed the Israelites, allowing them to make their way to the Holy Land. But over the past century, another exodus, driven by a plague of persecution, has swept across the Middle East and is emptying the region of its Christian population. The persecution is especially virulent today.

The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26% of the Middle East’s population. Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have lived in the Middle East since their faith was born.

In the rubble of Syrian cities like Aleppo and Damascus, Christians who refused to convert to Islam have been kidnapped, shot and beheaded by Islamist opposition fighters. In Egypt, mobs of Muslim Brotherhood members burn Coptic Christian churches in the same way they once obliterated Jewish synagogues. And in Iraq, terrorists deliberately target Christian worshippers. This past Christmas, 26 people were killed when a bomb ripped through a crowd of worshipers leaving a church in Baghdad’s southern Dora neighborhood.

Christians are losing their lives, liberties, businesses and their houses of worship across the Middle East. It is little wonder that native Christians have sought refuge in neighboring countries—yet in many cases they find themselves equally unwelcome. Over the past 10 years, nearly two-thirds of Iraq’s 1.5 million Christians have been driven from their homes. Many settled in Syria before once again becoming victims of unrelenting persecution. Syria’s Christian population has dropped from 30% in the 1920s to less than 10% today.

In January, a report by the nondenominational Christian nonprofit organization Open Doors documented the 10 most oppressive countries for Christians; nine were Muslim-majority states noted for Islamic extremism, and the 10th was North Korea. These tyrannical regimes uphold archaic blasphemy and defamation-of-religion laws under the guise of protecting religious expression. In truth, these measures amount to systematic repression of non-Islamic groups.

Last year in Saudi Arabia, two men were prosecuted for the “crime” of converting a woman to Christianity and helping her flee the Islamic kingdom. According to the Saudi Gazette, one of the men, a Lebanese, was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes, and the other man, a Saudi, was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes. Those are relatively mild sentences in Saudi Arabia, where conversion to another religion is punishable by death.

The “justice system” in other Islamic nations is not particularly just for Arab citizens, but it is uniquely oppressive for Christians. Radical Islamists in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa are using an ancient law called the “dhimmi pact” to extort local Christians. The community is faced with a grim choice: pay a tax and submit to a list of religious restrictions or “face the sword.”

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressions of political dissent are regarded as acts of blasphemy. Last summer, three Iranian Christians caught selling Bibles were found guilty of “crimes against state security” and sentenced to 10 years in prison. They were relatively lucky. The regime has executed dozens of people for the so-called crimes of “waging war against God” and “spreading corruption on Earth.”

The scene unfolding in the Middle East is ominously familiar. At the end of World War II, almost one million Jews lived in Arab lands. The creation of Israel in 1948 precipitated an invasion of five Arab armies. When they were unable to annihilate the newborn state militarily, Arab leaders launched a campaign of terror and expulsion that decimated their ancient Jewish communities. They succeeded in purging 800,000 Jews from their lands.

Today, Israel, which I represent at the United Nations, is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population. Its Christian community has increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today, in large measure because of the freedoms Christians are afforded.

From courtrooms to classrooms and from the chambers of Parliament to chambers of commerce, Israeli Christians are leaders in every field and discipline. Salim Joubran, a Christian Arab Israeli, has served as a Supreme Court justice since 2003 and Makram Khoury is one of the best-known actors in Israel and the youngest artist to win the Israel Prize, our highest civic honor.

Father Gabriel Nadaf, a Greek Orthodox priest living in Israel, recently told me: “Human rights are not something to be taken for granted. Christians in much of the Middle East have been slaughtered and persecuted for their faith, but here in Israel they are protected.”

Nations that trample on the rights of their people sow the seeds of instability and violence. The uprisings that have erupted across the Middle East are evidence that the region’s Holy Grail has become the pursuit of freedom, democracy and equality. Let us hope that this quest bears fruit before it is too late for the region’s remaining Christians.

Mr. Prosor is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.

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>> Report on my meeting with Jordan’s Ambassador to the U.S.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

Liberty Movement Rising: “The Fight Is Just Beginning”

“Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.”  – Thomas Paine

A protester waves the U.S. flag near the Bureau of Land Management's base camp where seized cattle, that belonged to rancher Cliven Bundy, are being held at near Bunkerville

This article has been contributed by Brandon Smith of Alt Market.

The label of “fringe” is a common one used by statists, bureaucrats and paid shills in order to marginalize those who would stand against government corruption. The primary assertion being sold is that the “majority” joyously supports the establishment; and the majority, of course, is always right.

The liberty movement, which is a collection of numerous freedom organizations and political activists brought together by a shared philosophical bond, has been accused of “fringe” status for quite some time. With corporatist dominance over the mainstream media for decades backing an elitist machine in Washington and a global banking cartel footing the bill with money created from thin air, any such accusation can be made to seem “real” to those who are unaware.

The problem has always been a matter of physical action giving rise to an acknowledgment of numbers.

We have all heard the old story of the debate within the ancient Roman government over the idea of forcing the slave population to wear distinct armbands so that they could be more easily identified among the regular population. The concept was rejected on the realization that if the slaves were given a visual confirmation of their considerable numbers and strength, they would be encouraged to revolt against the Roman tyrants. That is to say, as long as the slaves felt isolated, they would remain apathetic and powerless. Of course, that was not always the case. Sometimes, a small group would stand up despite their supposed isolation, and the rest of the world, wide-eyed and astonished, would take notice.

The liberty movement has just experienced one of its first great moments of realization and empowerment in Clark County, Nev., and millions of past naysayers have been shell-shocked.

I covered my views in detail on the Bundy Ranch saga in Nevada in my article “Real Americans Are Ready To Snap,” amid the usual choir of disinformation agents and nihilists desperate to convince Web audiences that the liberty movement would do nothing to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s militant assault on Cliven Bundy’s cattle farm. This assault included hundreds of Federal agents, helicopters, contractors hired essentially as cattle rustlers and even teams of snipers.

The statists and socialists were certainly out in force to misrepresent the Bundy issue and frighten anyone who might consider taking a stand for the family. The Southern Poverty Law Center, not surprisingly, was hard at work spreading lies and disinformation about the confrontation in Nevada, painting a picture of fractured patriot groups and militiamen with “little training” going to face unstoppable Federal BLM agents and likely “ending up dead.” The SPLC insinuated that the movement was ineffective and in over its head.

The reality was much the opposite. Liberty groups arrived in droves and were staunchly unified — not by a centralized leadership, but in defense of the basic moral principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Sources on the ground at the Bundy ranching operation relayed to me that at least 1,000 activists and militia members arrived over the weekend, with many more on the way. This one event proved certain points:

  1. The liberty movement is not afraid to put itself in harm’s way for the right cause — even if this means facing off against highly armed government thugs.
  2. The liberty movement has the ability to field a response team or even an army anywhere in the country at any time within a couple of days.
  3. The liberty movement has the ability to change the course of events, even to the point of removing Federal agents from a region who are acting in an unConstitutional manner.
  4. The Federal government is not invincible, nor is it unfazed by liberty movement opposition. They worry about our strength and ability.

Over the past weekend, we witnessed the true influence of the liberty movement. As thousands of activists and militia arrived in the area, the BLM finally began to understand what it was facing. The government agency that has been terrorized farming communities throughout the West for years, the agency armed with military-grade weaponry and hundreds of agents, ran away, as freedom fighters descended on the region.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie, two politicians who were deathly silent during the beginning of the Federal incursion on the Bundy ranch, have now suddenly become vocal in defense of Nevada ranchers against the BLM. It’s amazing how “inspired” politicians can become to do the right thing when they see an army of liberty activistsmarching against tyranny in their own backyard.

Not only was the BLM forced to remove itself from the area, but it was also forced to relinquish all the cattle it had stolen from Bundy over the course of the past week. Here, liberty groups close in on the cattle holding pens of the BLM and take back Bundy’s property.

Statists are indignant and furious over the surrender of the BLM. The same people who boasted that liberty activists would be slaughtered by Fed agents are now frothing at the mouth because they did not get their massacre. Not only that, but the bureaucracy they worship has shown itself to be impotent in the face of Constitutional champions. All I can say is nothing puts a bigger grin on my face than to see statists cry like babies when their delusions of grandeur are trampled on.

This was a major victory for the liberty movement. But let’s be clear; the fight is just beginning.

I suspect that the Bundy event will be spun by news agencies and the government until it is unrecognizable. They will claim that the BLM left not because they were wrong, but because they were trying to keep people safe. They will claim that liberty movement protesters were the aggressors and the poor BLM agents were just trying to do their jobs. They will play the race card as they always do, much like this pathetically lazy and unprofessional article from Slate, which asserts that if the Bundy’s had been black, the Liberty Movement would have never supported them. They will argue the so-called Federal legality of the raid itself, and paint Bundy as a “freeloader” who refuses to pay taxes and who is living off the American people. They will do everything in their power to destroy the image of the victory and soil the name of the Bundy family.

What they don’t seem to understand, though, is that the liberty movement does not care what the Federal government deems “legal” or “illegal.” Our only interest is what is Constitutional and what is moral. The dispute was never about the “legality” of Bundy’s use of the land, which his family used for grazing without interference for generations — until 1993, when the BLM used the absurd endangered species protection racket to put all of his neighbors out of business and threaten his ranch with invasion.  Add to this the recently discovered fact that Senator Harry Reid’s former assistant and friend Neil Kornze is now head of the BLM due to Reid’s influence, and the fact that Harry Reid and his family are reaping financial rewards by driving farmers from all over the region where Cliven Bundy’s ranch sits while arranging land deals with Chinese solar companies, and one has to ask, why should Bundy pay any of his hard earned money to the federal government when they are just going to use it to bulldoze his cattle and make Harry Reid more rich?

Disinformation websites like Snopes contend that Reid’s “projects” are not being established anywhere near the Bundy Ranch, yet, one such project has already been launched only 35 miles south of Bundy, and, the BLM has erased a page from its website specifically mentioning the Bundy Ranch and it’s “interference” with Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone Projects, the same projects Harry Reid and his son are heavily involved in.

What is amazing to me is that in light of this information hardcore socialists are still willing to defend Reid and the BLM.  My question is, if the BLM is so innocent, then why are they erasing such data from their website at all?  What were they trying to hide?

Harry Reid has not responded to the facts behind his financial involvement in the BLM’s attacks on Nevada farmers, except to say that they are “conspiracy theories”.  He added when asked about the status of the confrontation:

“Well, it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over…”

Yes, Harry, it won’t be over until men like you are thrown behind bars.

Note that he says “an American people”; as if he is separate, as if he is referring to all of us as a subservient organism, or servant class.  What Reid is saying is, the elites can’t have “an American people” openly exposing their criminality and defying their tyranny, and then just walking away.  I’m sorry to break it to Reid, but that is exactly how all of this is going to end.

Statists and bureaucrats like Reid continually attempt to argue this issue from the standpoint of Federal legality, obviously because the Federal government has the legislative and bureaucratic power to make any despicable action legal (at least on paper) if it wishes. However, the liberty movement has no interest whatsoever in Federal interpretations of legal precedence. We are only concerned with what is right. As the old saying goes, when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.

The liberty movement also fully understands that the Bundy victory was only one battle at the beginning of a long war.

The BLM may very well be waiting for activists to leave the area before attacking again. And even if that is not the case, tyrannical systems have a way of attempting to make up for signs of weakness by escalating violence during the next siege. That is to say, we should expect the next event involving the BLM or other government agencies to be even more vicious than the Bundy incident. It is simply the natural inclination of totalitarian systems to exaggerate their power when their failings have been exposed.

That said, it should be noted that corrupt leadership often crumbles in the face of steadfast resolve and courage. We have a long way to go before this Nation is once again truly free, but the liberty movement has proven its invaluable worth over the course of the past several days. We arrived at a crossroads, and we are now moving forward in the right direction — without fear and without regret. It is in these moments when history is made — when common men and women thwart the odds, defy the darkness and make good on their beliefs by risking everything in the name of freedom.

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense.  Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

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SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Report on my meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to discuss the Holocaust & the rising Iran nuclear threat.

Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

Meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the Capitol.

(Washington, D.C.) — Yesterday — on the 70th anniversary of the escape from Auschwitz by Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler – I had the opportunity to meet privately with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at his office in the Capitol.

I gave him a copy of The Auschwitz Escape and shared with him  some of the true stories that inspired the novel.

We discussed how Vrba and Wetzler got out, and why their report, “The Auschwitz Protocol,” was so important in telling the world the truth about what the Nazis were really doing to the Jews. I also shared with him the remarkable heroism of the evangelical Christians of Le Chambon, France, who risked their lives to rescue more than 5,000 people from the Nazis, including more than 3,000 Jews.

We also discussed the growing Iran nuclear threat, and how best to stop Iran before they can attempt to perpetrate a Second Holocaust.

Rep. Cantor is Jewish and a fellow Virginian. As I reported in this column, he recently made his first visit the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland with a group of Israeli Members of Knesset in January.

The following month, Cantor delivered a major speech speaking of the lessons of the Holocaust and warning of the dangers of the isolationism.

It was interesting to hear him share his impressions of his time at Auschwitz, and to discuss the latest developments with the Iranian nuclear threat.

I did not ask the Majority Leader for anything. I wasn’t there to lobby him in any way. Rather, I simply wanted to share with him some of these true stories, thank him for going to Auschwitz, and encourage him to keep reminding Americans how important it is to act decisively to stop evil early, before it can metastasize.

Please keep Leader Cantor in your prayers, and pray that he will be a positive influence on the rest of the House of Representatives on these vital issues.

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>> Read the column I recently wrote for CNN.com with fmr. Senator Rick Santorum — “Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb”

>> Read the attack on our column by an Iranian government official — Iranian official attacks oped I wrote with Senator Santorum as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

With rumors of Israeli strike on Iran in 2014 rising, Santorum & Rosenberg write oped for CNN: Could there be a “Second Holocaust”? Lessons from Nazi Germany & modern Iran.

CNN-logo>> Please join me on April 1st for a book tour event with an Orthodox Rabbi at a Synagogue in Manhattan. RSVP today. We’d love to have you join us.

(Netanya, Israel) — Greetings from Israel. I’m here doing media interviews for The Auschwitz Escape, having various meetings, and trying to get a better sense of how Israeli citizens and leaders are viewing the crisis in Ukraine and the rising Iranian nuclear threat.

Rumors are swirling in the media here about a possible Israeli preemptive strike on Iran this year. Israeli officials at the highest level — including the Defense Minister — are reportedly coming to the reluctant belief that they cannot count on President Obama to take decisive action to neutralize the Iranian threat before it is too late.

Here are several recent headlines worth noting:

In this context, CNN.com has just published an op-ed that former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and I have written. It examines parallels he and I find sobering between the history of Adolf Hitler and the current regime in Tehran. In the column, we also cite the exclusive new poll showing 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if Iran is allowed to build nuclear warheads.

I hope you’ll take a moment to read the full column. Then please post your comments on the “Epicenter Team” page on Facebook, and share this column with friends and get their reaction, as well.

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Lessons of history: Americans fear ‘second Holocaust’ if Iran gets the bomb

By Rick Santorum and Joel C. Rosenberg

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows this month when she compared Vladimir Putin’s tactics in Ukraine to those of the Nazis.

She was right, but there is an even more ominous similarity between the actions of Iran and those of pre-war Germany.

On May 21, 1935, Adolf Hitler delivered his infamous “peace” speech. In his masterful history of Nazi Germany, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” William L. Shirer quotes the Fuhrer’s remarks at length:

  • “Germany needs peace and desires peace.”
  • “Germany has solemnly recognized and guaranteed France her frontiers.”
  • “Germany has concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland.”

Shirer, a CBS Radio correspondent, called the address “one of the cleverest and most misleading of his Reichstag orations this writer, who sat through most of them, ever heard him make.” He observed the West seemed beguiled by the speech, noting the Times of London welcomed Hitler’s words “with almost hysterical joy.”

“The speech turns out to be reasonable, straightforward, and comprehensive,” stated the Times editorial. “No one who reads it with an impartial mind can doubt that the points of policy laid down by Herr Hitler may fairly constitute the basis of a complete settlement with Germany.”

Yet Hitler was lying to buy time. He would not bring peace, but a horrific war, annexing Austria, invading France and Poland, and ordering the extermination of six million Jews.

Indeed, Hitler’s lies were apparent less than a year after the speech. On March 7, 1936, the Nazis marched into the Rhineland, the demilitarized zone between Germany and France, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

If the West had confronted Hitler then, it could have forced him out of the Rhineland with a limited application of military force.

Such history is worth noting in today’s showdown with Iran. Many in the West seem beguiled by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. But are they….

[To read the full column, please click here.]

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

PENSION ARMAGEDDON: Calamity Rising

Democrats and math mix like oil and water.

Some state pensions in dire straits

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t waste an opportunity to raise the specter of Detroit when talking about his state’s finances… Christie, a Republican, has included a $ 2.25 billion payment to New Jersey’s public pension system in 2015, the highest in the state’s history and more than his predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, allocated in his entire four-year term. But it does little to narrow the gap left by years of poor accounting, deferred payments and, according to Christie, ignorance of state leaders.

New Jersey’s pension system is still short by $ 52 billion, and Christie, who successfully pushed through pension overhauls in 2011, is looking for another round of concessions from unions and public employees to rein in the soaring cost of retiree benefits.

At recent public appearances, Christie told his audience to look at Detroit, the largest American city to file for bankruptcy… “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s where we’re headed,” Christie said at a town hall meeting in Burlington County on March 13.

Three years after a wave of pension overhauls swept across America, many states find themselves still hemmed-in by ballooning retiree costs and budget-sucking liabilities, setting the table for more battles between states and public workers.

More than 40 states have enacted some sort of pension changes since 2011, yet for all states in aggregate, the net pension liability increased 24%, from $ 998 billion in 2011 to $ 1.2 trillion in 2012, the latest data available, according to Moody’s Investors Service. A 2013 Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government report said some economists estimate both state and local pension liabilities to be as much as $ 4 trillion.

…Eileen Norcross, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University… said that many states “absolutely” must enact more reforms, and soon… “The math is just unforgiving,” she said. “It’s sort of like telling yourself you weigh less, even though you’re not getting on the scale. There’s kind of an illusion there. Under the surface of the illusion is the truth.”

…In Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating in the U.S. and was most recently downgraded for failing to properly fulfill pension obligations, its $ 187 billion pension liability represents 318% of its revenues despite a range of overhauls, according to Moody’s. Connecticut’s $ 57 billion liability is at 243%, and Kentucky’s $ 41 billion liability is 211% relative to revenues, according to the service.

Throughout American history — and as recently as the 1950s — there were no unions for government workers. Public-sector employees were expected to earn a bit less than their private-sector equivalents. The reasons they did so included an interest in public service, job security and reasonable benefits.

But that changed in the late fifties with New York City Mayor Robert Wagner’s cynical appeal to the votes of city workers. He signed an executive order authorizing them to unionize, and soon other local and state Democrat legislators around the country followed his lead.

The net result is the unfolding catastrophe occurring in cities and states around the country.

Related: A Brief, Illustrated History of the Public Sector Unions That, Together With The Democrat Party, Are Waging War on the Taxpayer. Hat tip: Lee.

Doug Ross @ Journal