Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Definition of True Peace: Truth

When someone criticizes the way peace talks are held, some reports call this "opposing Peace" or "creating an obstacle to peace". This method of journalism is best defined as the LIE method. A peace process does not always equate with peace, and in the Middle-East, it usually does not.

The difference at this juncture in history, as opposed to prior to 9/11/01, is that the reason is becoming more and more clear. And the lack of a solution is becoming more and more connected to the lack of a will to listen to opposing views by Western diplomats. No, it's not wrong to not give in to terrorists. It is not wrong to kill them before they can get you. That part is good. The problem is that they are so focused on killing flies, while our leaders are leaving the screen door open, that the problem is just going to get worse, no matter how hard they swat at the flies.

You got to take out the trash or close the door, and stop thinking and working in half measures.

If you want to end the continual growth of terrorism and new terror cells, either you have to crush every terror cell in the world with your armed forces, or you need to strengthen the hand of anti terror forces within the Islamic religion by proving that their faith is not at risk. Why do our leaders not understand that Islam feels that we are at a cultural war with them? The threat to Islam is not perceived as the financial benefits of Globalization. Muslims are not idiots, they can see how they can make money from capitalism too. No it's not an 11th Century mindset of fear of the West, or even anger over cultural erosion. It's when the culture is allowed to grow, but religion is not given an equal footing. It's when it APPEARS that children will become more excited at a glimpse of someone dressed up as a burger selling clown than the sight of other children dressed up as angels at a school play.

By being in the face of Muslims and telling them, eat our products and surrender your souls, we are perpetuating the main root cause of anti-Western sentiment out of Islam. Only by being diligent about supporting Freedom of Religion as a Jus Cogens can there be an easing of Islamic fears that future pilgrimages to Mecca may turn out to be more interested for hedonistic fine dining than for religious purposes. This is a core fear at the spiritually reckless onslaught of an unfeeling West.

Now this concept, if it became a worldwide norm, would mean that Muslims would have to allow Jews to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. Wouldn't that be a problem? Not like the current situation. If Muslims knew that Mecca and Medina were safe forever, they would be willing to even forsake Jerusalem (once again) to protect what is theirs. As the prophet forecasts, "And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. ...even the temple, that it might be built. " (Zechariah 8.8)

The foundation of the support for the terror will have been removed once Islam can trust Western justice is fair for all. As the prophet continues in that same chapter, "execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates" (Zechariah 8.16)

The lack of peace in the Middle-East stems from a lack of objective truth. Whether by Word of God, or by International Law, as long as an objective standard of truth is incorporated into the cultural mindset of the peace process, the peace process can hope to be successful. But if the leaders fool around with the truth until it comes out more in their own favor, they end up fooling themselves and apparently many journalists around the world, that we are one step closer to peace with each unjust concession and with each insincere declaration. If it is impossible to ascertain the whole truth of the matter, it is impossible for the matter to lead to peace.

Whether the standard used is sectarian or non-sectarian, until there is more objective truth in the Middle-East, there will be no true peace. To either dishonor God, or to risk human life for such a fake peace, no good person should accept without protest. Lovers of peace must practice zeal for truth, otherwise things are only going to get worse. Yet if objective truth is recaptured as the medium for peace talks, true peace and hope can return once more to the Middle-East and to the entire world.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jerusalem & Jus Cogens

The Israeli retention of Greater Jerusalem and the Temple Mount represents a fundamental Human Right for the Jewish people. When the Jordanian government held Jerusalem between 1948-1967, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and Jews were allowed no free access to their most holy of places. Whereas Israel guarantees freedom of religion to all who live under her protection.

As we have mentioned before, time and place have more profound meaning in Judaism than in Christianity. Jews may never, under the terms of their faith, forsake Jerusalem. Indeed, whether in the Holy Land or in exile Jews have prayed towards the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the past 3000 years. There is no Judaism without Jerusalem.

Fundamental International Laws are called Jus Cogens. There is much academic debate over whether freedom of religion should be covered as a fundamental norm in International Law. This very debate is a great example of a powerful source used by the extremist Islamic revolt against Western influence. The hook of logic that Islamic extremist groups use to prove that the West is attempting to override their faith is that freedom of religion is not protected universally by current International norms. By strengthening the protection of religious belief, the United Nations could go far in preventing future religious extremists from rising to power.

Yet the truth is, freedom of religion is truly a fundamental international norm that even the United States of America was founded upon. The founders of the USA spilled blood in the name of freedom from over-taxation. But why? Why didn't they just move back to Europe where the taxes were lower? Because there was no significant freedom of religion in Europe at that time.

Therefore in the true spirit of International Law, religious freedom is in fact a Jus Cogens. And those who wish to prevent future religious extremism should support the full recognition of religious freedom as a inalienable right, protected fully by the rights of Jus Cogens. Therefore the Israeli retention of Greater Jerusalem and the Temple Mount represents a Jus Cogens for the Jewish people.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Temple Mount Is the Holiest Site in Judaism

The entire Temple Mount, not just the Western Wall, is, in fact, the holiest site in Judaism. From a Jewish religious perspective, the Temple Mount is the Center of Jerusalem and the religion of Judaism itself, and not just a historic place in East Jerusalem. The Israeli government's website ignores this and calls the Western Wall alone the holiest Jewish site on earth. The Mount behind the Wall is even holier than the Wall to Judaism. The concept of a "holy of holies", comes from the Jewish description of the site that is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock. Jews are connected to God through that site, and that is why we pray towards it, no matter what part of the world we are in.

What would an Israeli governmental official say as a mitigating factor to the lie that it is telling against the holiest site in Judaism? That the government is a secular body and cannot be expected to have to get involved in determining precise religious practices of any religion in the State of Israel? Then how dare the Olmert Administration take the responsibility upon its shoulders to attempt to alter free access to the most important of Jewish religious holy sites? Either the government is separate from religion, or it is not.

By suggesting the surrender of Judaism's holiest site, when it refuses to hear arguments to keep the Temple Mount in Jewish possession, the Olmert Administration is discriminating against a Human Right of the Jewish people, their Freedom of Religion. Political expediency is no excuse for a lie perpetrated against the main religious truth of the main religion of the very country the Knesset is supposed to represent. Neither is political expediency an excuse for the allies of the State of Israel to join in with the immoral and illegal maneuver of the Olmert Administration.

Perhaps that is why the governments of Israel and the USA tolerate all those jihadist television programs that the Palestinians make for their children, using our tax dollars to raise a new generation of terrorist murders out of cute little kids. Since it is in vogue to perpetrate lies against Jews and Christians who support a Jewish possession of the Temple Mount, it is only fair to then evenhandedly lie to some Islamic people as well. The cost of blood and dollars is minimal, perhaps, to people with such a mindset. The main thing is to go down in history as the ones who made the biggest peace deal ever. That is its own reward and idol.

True peace too has gotten in the way of the runaway train that is taking the governments of two great countries for a ride straight to the gates of hell, both figuratively and literally.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Temple Time?

If we are discussing the religion and politics of Jerusalem, then we need to address the Temple Mount. Very obviously, the Jewish religion calls for a rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, in its place which is upon the Temple Mount that is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock. The timing of that rebuilding project, however, is probably not in the immediate future.

Even were the messiah to come today and say that the one true religion is Judaism and the one true path to the worship of the God of the Jews is exclusively by Talmudic principles, the first project the messiah (aka Moshiach) would do would not likely be the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. Here's some reasons...

  • The Temple must be "a house of prayer for all peoples" (Isaiah 56.7). You can't assume that is likely if the very rebuilding of it starts a war. Yet, the rebuild is a sign of eternal peace. So effectively we need to wait for peace in the Middle-East before considering rebuilding the Temple, and then according to prophecy, the Temple will be a seal of eternal peace (according to both Jews and many Christians) when built out of the unity of goodwill that will exist in that time among nations.
  • The rebuilding of the 2nd Temple in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah was not a universal success. Much of the Jewish people did not return to the Holy Land following that rebuild. We see from the order of the Scripture what went wrong. First the Temple was rebuilt by Zerubabel, then the Temple was dedicated and the Holy Word of the Lord was disseminated by Ezra, the Priest, and then Nehemiah fortified Jerusalem and pursued matters of peace and justice. It would seem likely that a reversal of this order must occur for a permanent peace to be ensured. First peace and justice must be administered, then the Holy Torah must be taught to those who would rebuild the Temple, so that everyone, and not merely a few, will wish to participate in giving honor to the Lord, and only then will everyone be united to such an extent that the whole world will be ready and desirous for the Holy Temple to be rebuilt.
  • The people who must rebuild it, must be a united people, and on this issue there is currently no consensus among Jews. Thank God that there's going to be a messiah! But even if a messiah comes immediately, we are still probably talking several years before the world changes fast enough for all this to occur. According to Maimonides (Laws of Kings) no miraculous changes will occur in the world in the messianic age except that no nations will threaten Israel anymore. And if you think about it, God has built an intricate and delicate framework of free will into this world and after all that effort it is unlikely for that to be utterly thrown away overnight, though not impossible. Nachmonidies based on the prophecies of old forecasted an age of open miracles, which obviously would hasten the building of the Temple far beyond what anyone can calculate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Pollard Fiasco

Based on what was said yesterday, that Jews must place their nation of birth before the State of Israel unless they decide to relocate to Israel, why then do so many American Jews ask for clemency for Jonathan Pollard, a convicted traitor against America?

There are many reasons, of course, and I won't restate all the arguments here, they are well stated on, but the reason arguing on behalf of his release does not go against what was said in this blog is because American Jews are, or should be asking for what is best for America. Yes, Israel would like Pollard released. But America should release Pollard because it is to our benefit to do so.

First let's analyze the danger that Pollard represents:

1) Pollard was never a true threat to America, he was acting to defend an ally of America.

2) If he did accidentally discover any classified data that could have harmed America in the wrong hands, after the first decade that data would have been outdated. It's already been 22 years!

In Sum) If Pollard ever was a real threat, he is not any longer.

Next, let's analyze the potential domestic political cost or benefit that releasing Pollard could represent:

1) As he has already been punished more than any Soviet spy ever was, the continued incarceration of Pollard it looks almost anti-Semitic, and is indeed characterized as that among many activists in America. Getting this out of the way by releasing him is actually a good thing.

2) His crime helped Israel to take out Saddam's Nuke reactor, thus protecting our interests in the Middle East. I'm not suggesting rewarding a traitor that albeit ended up helping us, we cannot encourage treason. But this end has won him a certain measure of support in America for looking past the means by which he achieved his aid to our interests. Perhaps this support is especially strongest by those families of surviving war veterans who are grateful that their children did not have to risk WMDs that would have been there. So releasing him would be if not outright supported, at least tolerated as an understandable thing to do by many Americans.

In Sum) There is no significant political downside to releasing him.

Now, let's analyze the overall benefit that releasing Pollard represents:

America would gain political clout with the right wing in Israel's government. A group that is more and more becoming disenfranchised with the Bush Administration's close working relationship with their incredibly unpopular current Prime Minister. As proof, the next government of Israel looks to be right wing and quite possibly run by Bibi Netanyahu who has linked Pollard's release as a key gesture that he expects from America. Giving up a now harmless Pollard does not seem too high of a price to pay to gain extra political clout with a key ally in a key region of the world at such a crucial point in history.

It's time to put this fiasco to rest. No more accusations against America which is only trying to uphold justice, no more accusations against Israel which was trying to prevent itself from being nuked by Saddam Hussein. Let's just finish this the right way, right away. President Bush should pardon Pollard immediately or at the very least "trade" him for Palestinian prisoners without blood on their hands. Failure to do so, however, would put the historical onus on the USA. It would be a self-indictment that we only know how to punish our friends, but not our enemies. Our policy on recent enemy Iraq? Rebuild it before we know if they will be our ally in ten years. Our policy towards our close ally Israel? Well, that's another story ... or is it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Judaism and Jewish National Loyalty

Due to a lot of confusion out there in regards to the role of a Jew in exile, there is a need to be specific about what should otherwise be considered obvious. An American Jew is and should be loyal to America first before the State of Israel; the same goes from each Jew of whichever particular nation he lives in. As the Talmud phrases it: "The Law of the Land (you dwell in) is the Law." If a Jew finds this concept confusing he should move to Israel. Because God dispersed his people throughout the world to spread His Glory, not to desecrate it by disloyalty to their homeland or any other sinful pursuits. A truly religious American Jew should place America before Israel if he wants to remain truly religious.

A Jew's connection to the people of Israel and the Holy Land, however, is connected to their religious beliefs as well. The focus of their prayers is directed to Jerusalem. Charity is raised throughout the world for Israeli charities. However, according to Talmudic law, the charitable causes of one's hometown takes precedence over charitable causes elsewhere, except in times of extreme danger or disaster. This is just another indication that a Jew's loyalty must start at home, and a Jew's home is the land that the Lord has caused the Jew to dwell in.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jewish Freedom of Religion and Jerusalem

Sometimes religion and politics do mix and in some places in the world, they have no choice but to. Jerusalem is such a place. The generally held belief, however, of Jerusalem being equally holy to three religions is simply not true.

Unlike other faiths, Judaism has but one religious center in the world, and that place has remained so for some 3000 years. Jerusalem.

Whereas Christianity moved its religious seat from Jerusalem to "New Jerusalem" (aka, Rome) to "New Rome" (aka Constantinople/Istanbul) and so on, Judaism is under Biblical directives to never exchange its religious seat for any other.

Time and place have such profound meaning in Judaism.

And Islam does not embrace Jerusalem but rejects it for Mecca and Medina.

Therefore, the question of retention of Jerusalem in Israeli sovereignty is a matter of whether or not Jews have freedom of religious creed. Any attack on Jewish political rights to Jerusalem is perforce an attack on Judaism itself. Any expert on Judaism can tell you that.

There is a fear among many secular experts of International Law, that to rationally discuss this reality of Judaism, it to potentially stir up radicals on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian issue. This argument, however, creates a devaluation of Jewish Human Rights even before the debate can begin. Only by discussing this matter openly, can a separation of church and state exist. Otherwise, all that exists is a separation of Jews from their own religious creed. And that is profoundly wrong, both morally and from the perspective of Jewish Human Rights. ...God may not like it very much either...

Therefore the hope of this blog is to open up discussion from both political and religious perspectives on Judaism and Jerusalem in order to lay a more solid foundation for lasting peace in the Middle East.