Tag Archives: Israel

“Solving” the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

At first glance, this title is both arrogant and unneeded. After all, haven’t there been multiple peace accords, from Camp David (1978) to Madrid (1991) to Oslo (1992) to Camp David (2000) again? Nobel Peace Prizes, smiles and handshakes and promises of “final negotiations” all win world approval…only to break down, with both sides blaming the other.

With the recent relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem (in accordance with U.S. legislation since the 1990s), all the tensions come to the surface again. Gaza rioting at the border wall, Syrian rockets, Iran and Turkey calling for the destruction of Israel – same song, new singers.

What can be done? The EU and many others keep calling for Israeli “restraint” as rockets from Gaza and the Golan rain on Israel and hundreds of terrorists attempt to infiltrate through tunnels. At the same time, Palestinian Authority leader Abbas continues to perpetrate the nastiest antisemitism, refusing to acknowledge 3000 years of Jewish history in the land, rejecting the truth of 6 million dead in the Holocaust and refusing to accept Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. Anti-Jewish sentiments continue to grow throughout the world.

What can be done?

There is a pathway forward. It is truly “the road less traveled” and will require heroism for success. If pursued, however, an era of genuine peace and prosperity is possible. Here are the necessary conditions for a “final” accord:

  • Israel’s existence as a sovereign nation with a right to peace and security is essential. Extermination chants of, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free” will only continue the conflict. Until Palestinians and other Muslim leaders say yes to Israel as a nation, no peace is possible. Egypt, Jordan and others are reaping the benefits of not being at war.
  • Demanding the return of all descendants of people displaced in 1948 is a non-starter. Clear borders, generous aid and economic opportunity can help a new Palestinian State prosper…if they will end their perpetual war.
  • The Palestinian Authority, with help from others, must end ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda and others that only want the elimination of Israel. The PA must renounce a tradition of Islamic deception (taqiyya) that allows for truces, but no true peace.
  • Israel will relocate many settlers once the new boundaries are established. It is unrealistic to expect pre-1967 boundaries, but the aforementioned accords open the door to two sustainable states.
  • Economic development and a potential free trade zone could transform a new Palestinian State from one of dependent refugee camps to a sustainable and flourishing participant in the local and global economy.

Underneath the details are the moral and spiritual evils associated with antisemitism and the delegitimizing of the Jewish people’s right to a secure home. All of the above points are only possible when Jews are seen as equal human beings and not dehumanized as dogs and pigs, bloodthirsty bankers and enemies of Islam. Israel leaders are not leading an “apartheid” state, they are not “Nazis” and the border wall has actually saved hundreds of lives. Israel is not perfect, but there is NO moral equivalence between the only democracy in the region and the hatred taught from birth in the territories surrounding Israel.

All forms of neo-Nazi thinking must be rejected. All Leftist canards about Israeli oppression need severe modification in light of empirical evidence.

Peace is possible, but the burden is 90%+ on Palestinian, Arab and world leaders to accept Israel as a gift of freedom, ingenuity and morality for the world.

Letters to People of Influence Part One: To Religious Leaders

This is the first in a four-part series of “Letters To…” that will address concerns and insights touching on vital issues of our day.

Here in Part One, I address pastors in general and Pope Francis in particular. Please enjoy and add your insights to the conversation.

Dear Pastors (of every Christian tradition),

Thank you for your sacrificial love and service as you nurture communities of faith of all kinds.

As I pray for you as a fellow pastor, I have three requests as you carry out your holy calling:

One: Remember that it is the Triune God who calls God’s people together and is the object of worship. As Eugene Peterson says, our primary pastoral task is keeping people attentive to God.

Two: Please commission and empower all vocations as important to God’s kingdom. God’s work in the world takes place through people that work, whether paid or volunteer, labor or leadership, home or office.

Three: Please take time to nourish your soul and care for your “first flock” – your family (if married). If single, take time for healthy relationships that build you as a person. Eat well, exercise and rest…your health will help you inspire health in others.

Pastors, I am grateful for all you do – seen and unseen – that Christ uses to transform others. My prayers are offered not as a perfect practitioner, but as a fellow-learner trying to gain wisdom from mistakes and victories. 
Thank you!

Dear Pope Francis,

Thank you for caring for the poor and beginning to redeem the financial and sexual scandals in the church.

Thank you for reminding us that the deepest problems are spiritual and that our selfish/sinful hearts need change.

Thank you for reaching out to the “outsiders” in dialogue and well as showing compassion for the faithful afflicted by divorce.

I do, however, have deep concerns. 
Without judging your motives or sincerity, I beg you to…

…Avoid being manipulated by the agendas of global elites using climate change to unjustly redistribute wealth.

…Stand for the persecuted church and all dissidents that oppose totalitarian regimes, especially in Cuba.

…Use your office as a prophetic peacemaker, calling on Muslim leaders to affirm the dignity and equality of all persons.

…Support Israel’s right to exist while actively working for a peaceful solution, not just the protection of holy sites.

…Affirm that economic freedom, when rooted in value creation and virtue, is the best pathway out of poverty.

I pray you will use this moment to help millions envision a life rooted in Christ and serving the common good.

 

Dear Candidates: An Open Letter to Democrats and Republicans Aspiring for the Presidency in 2016

The recent announcements that Senator Hillary Clinton, Senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with Governor Scott Walker are all running for President in 2016 are the context for this special letter. Even though their particular positions vary widely – especially between Clinton and the rest, I address these thoughts to all of them as a concerned American and one who cares for the world. I welcome civil debate as we gear up for months of campaigning – with our nation’s future in the balance.

This letter is written in the manner of Socrates – a series of questions that imply particular concerns and positions, but compel clarity on the issues.

Dear Candidate(s),

Thank you for having the courage to run for this office. Others might cynically say that you are all supreme egoists for thinking you can do the job. Time will tell the proportions of altruism and ego, principle and pragmatism in your ideas and policies. The job of President of the USA is the most powerful and stressful job in the world. In 1839 Alexis de Tocqueville declared that the best persons do not run for President because of the compromises involved in getting elected! I hope such is not the case with any of you.

Here are my questions:

  • What is your vision of a healthy, prosperous nation? What key ideals are guiding your policy proposals? How can you inspire hope and sacrifice among a cynical and disengaged electorate suspicious of all politicians?
  • What is your sense of America’s uniqueness and her humble and wise partnerships with other nations?
  • What is your understanding of the “separation of powers” in the US Constitution and your interpretation of Amendments 9 and 10 that limit the federal government and place ultimate sovereignty in the hands of the people of our nation? What are your boundaries on Executive Orders? How will you be accountable to Congress? Recent history in both parties makes this a vital issue for our future.
  • Will you stand for Israel’s right to exist as a recognized Jewish State and freedom of conscience and religion around the world? Put another way, will you challenge Islamic states to open their societies and treat women and minorities with dignity?
  • Will you be completely pro-life and defend unborn children, the aged and the physically and mentally challenged?
  • How will you reform Social Security and Medicare so that they are protected for the needy and administrated justly?
  • Will you begin a new conversation on medical care and articulate what facets should be local, state and federal and what should be in the hands of the people? How will you assure compassionate delivery of quality medical services without an impersonal Leviathan of government bureaucracy?
  • How will you move us toward a balanced federal budget, a just tax system and reduction in the size of the federal government?
  • What is the government’s role in the economy and how will your policies helps millions find sustainable work?
  • How will you help our nation welcome millions of legal immigrants that desire hope and opportunity while screening for terrorist and welfare cheats?
  • How will you restore America’s global leadership role? How can we help lead the world away form the hegemonic agendas of China and Russia, as well as the threats of a nuclear Iran and her terrorist clients?
  • How will you position the USA at the United Nations? Are you comfortable with UN control over any territory in the USA and global courts attempting to trump our national ones?
  • What current federal structures will you decentralize or eliminate? How large a role should Washington, D.C. have in public education, the administration of welfare and food distribution and provision for other needs?
  • What is your transparent communications strategy? Will your Administration be open (apart from critical personnel or national security issues) or as opaque as the last 80 months? Can we find out about the influences in your upbringing and the educators and mentors that have shaped you into the woman or man you are today?
  • Will you stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while allowing for other arrangements that afford partners legal recognition?

Candidates, I sincerely pray that you will humbly depend upon the Almighty, listen to all the people (not just the big donors) and articulate your values and vision well. Please help us reverse a half-century of moral decline, forty years of political polarization and a generation of economic mismanagement and deception.

A nation is listening.