Newsletter : 14fx0416.txt
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Bethlehem Becomes a Hotspot for American Anti-Israel Activism
Though evangelical Christian support for Israel remains strong, anti-Israel activists
are increasingly making inroads in the evangelical community. One of the premier events
among anti-Israel evangelicals is the annual Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in
Inaugurated in 2010 CATC is organized by Bethlehem Bible College, which was recently
described by Dexter Van Zile as the "nexus point for anti-Zionist activism directed at
American Evangelicals." Despite CATC's effort to distance itself from some of the more
extreme elements among anti-Israel evangelicals, such as the group Sabeel, "things have
only gotten worse" since 2010. Rev. Luke Moon reported.
In fact, the event demonstrated just how savvy and successful Palestinian anti-Israel
Christian activists have become. Over the last four years, the leaders and participants of
Christ at the Checkpoint have grown to be increasingly astute regarding American
evangelicals and how to persuade them of their anti-Israel narrative.
The gains made by anti-Israel evangelicals haven't just been the result of toning down
its more hostile constituents, but also by appealing to core evangelical values. Moon
writes that understanding that "niceness" is a quality that American evangelicals value,
"anti-Israel activists attempt to portray Israel, especially the young soldiers who man
West Bank checkpoints, as `mean.'" Additionally, they portray the Palestinians as the
underdogs in a world where "Israel is Goliath to the Palestinian David."
Because evangelical Christians believe "in determining belief and practice according to
biblical authority," God's love for Israel must be "redefined." Moon cited Dr. Gary Burge,
who argues that the covenant with the Jews has been superseded so that "the Land of Israel
and by extension the Jewish people are no longer important to God's redemptive plan for
humanity." Moon referred to these arguments as "distortions of scripture."
Carter: Israel has Stockpile of 300+ Nuclear Bombs
By Israel Hayom
The United States should not attack Iran, even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, former
U.S. President Jimmy Carter said. In a recent interview with MSNBC, Carter not only
declared his absolute opposition to any attack on Iran, he also said that Israel had a
stock of nuclear weapons of its own.
"Israel has, what, 300 or more, nobody knows exactly how many," Carter said. "And I
know that every Iranian realizes that if they should try to use a nuclear weapon, Iran
would be wiped off the face of the earth, which I think is so ridiculous, a
self-destructive decision, that they would not do it."
Carter expressed doubt about Israel's ability to attack Iran. "I never have felt that
Israel had a capability militarily to go 1,200 miles or more and bomb Iran effectively and
then return back to Israel," he said. "The only country on earth that has that capability
would be the United States, and I don't believe it's appropriate for the United States to
bomb Iran over this issue."
Carter, who ushered in the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, addressed the
current diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians and criticized Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's insistence that Israel be recognized as a Jewish state.
"I don't think that any Arab country can agree to that. And this is something, as you
know, that's been resurrected [by] Netanyahu. This never was an issue when I was in office
and trying to negotiate peace," he said.
Carter praised Secretary of State John Kerry, saying he believed Kerry had "done a
heroic job" trying to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, it
appeared that Carter had his doubts about President Barack Obama's relatively small role
in the peace process, saying that Kerry needed "more overt help overt from the White
House. I don't think we'll have ever a peace agreement there unless the president of the
United States is the leading character in mediating between the two," Carter said.
Overbooked, Underfed El Al Passengers Finally Take Off
At least eight El Al Europe-bound flights that had been grounded for several hours
finally took off, with passengers finally seated - and fed. An El Al official said that
the problems that the airline experienced Monday were due to a larger number of passengers
arriving for flights than had been expected, with a number of flights overbooked.
It's not clear how the mass overbooking occurred, but passengers faced long lines and
several-hour delays as airline personnel worked to sort things out.
Among the problems was a lack of kosher meals of passengers. As a kosher airline
meaning one that is under rabbinical culinary supervision El Al is required to
provide passengers with kosher food. That's not a great challenge for the Israeli airline
throughout the year, since there are plenty of caterers ready to supply meals for
travelers but on Passover, when meal options are limited and many caterers shut
down for the week instead of preparing their kitchen for the holiday getting kosher
for Passover ready-made meals for airline passengers is more difficult.
Flights to a number of destinations, including Amsterdam, Geneva, Budapest, Zurich, and
Vienna were affected. The delays were between one and two hours. Airline officials asked
travelers to be patient and to be understanding if they did not get to eat on their
Over 1 million travelers are expected to pass through Ben Gurion Airport before,
during, and after Passover. Passengers on El Al, however, may get to their destinations a
bit late because the airline has run out of kosher for Passover meals.
Temple Mount: Jews Arrested Attempting to Bring Pesach Sacrifice
Eight Jews were arrested Monday for attempting to sacrifice a goat on the Temple Mount
in Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest site. The group were making their way to the Mount in
order to carry out the Pesach (Passover) Sacrifice, known as the Korban Pesach, on the eve
of the seven-day festival. Jews are commanded to offer the sacrifice in commemoration of
the Exodus from Egypt, during which God killed all firstborn Egyptians whilst passing over
The sacrifice is supposed to take place on the Temple Mount, which is the site of the
two former Holy Temples of Jerusalem but which today is occupied by the Islamic Al Aqsa
By order of the Islamic Waqf authorities who administer the site, Jews are forbidden
from praying or carrying out any other religious rituals on their holiest site, in what
activists have repeatedly condemned as a capitulation by police to Muslim extremists.
Nationalist activist Noam Federman, who was among those detained, slammed the arrests
as an "embarrassment" to the State of Israel. "It is a mark of shame that the government
of Israel is directing a regime of racism against Jews on the Temple Mount. They [Jews]
are forbidden to pray and even prevented from carrying out the mitzvot (Torah
commandments) of the Festival (of Pesach)."
The Temple Organizations Headquarters - an umbrella representing several Jewish rights
groups - issued a stern condemnation, calling the arrests "a severe blow to freedom of
religion, the Basic Law of Freedom of Worship, the holy places and the rule of law in
Jerusalem. The time has come to allow Jews to act as a free people in the State of Israel,
without worrying about or surrendering to Islamist threats," the group added, referring to
regular threats of violence by various Islamist groups if Jews are granted equal prayer
rights on the Temple Mount.
A proposed law, tabled by the Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish
Home), is aiming to guarantee just that, and has drawn ire from both Islamist and leftist
Israel a Favorite Among Chinese Tourists
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel rose by 30% in 2013, Chinese news agency
Xinhua reported, quoting Israel's Tourism Ministry. Chinese tourists spent an average of
$286 a day in Israel (not including souvenirs), more than tourists from other
Quoting the Tourism Ministry's director-general Amir Halevy, Xinhua reported 30,000
people arrived in Israel last year thanks to "the rapid development of bilateral
commercial, technological, agricultural exchanges. Considering over 100 million overseas
journeys are made by Chinese people every year, we see more potential in bilateral tourism
exchanges," Halevy said. He noted Israel was working on recruiting more Chinese tour
guides, as well as providing special tour services, to accommodate more Chinese visitors.
Some 776,000 visitors arrived in Israel between January and March 2014, an all-time
record for the first quarter of the year. Halevy said Israel's goal was to attract 40,000
Chinese tourists in 2017, and 100,000 in 2020. To that end, Israel was working with
Chinese airlines to launch direct flights to Ben Gurion Airport, and a reform in entry
visas for Chinese visitors to Israel was introduced.
"China is a leading destination in the campaign of the Israeli Tourism Ministry for
emerging markets," Tourism Ministry Uzi Landau told Xinhua last year. "We will work to
increase the number of tourists from China to Israel over the next few years," Landau
added. The Tourism Ministry also led seminars in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou last
year, introducing hundreds of Chinese travel agents to Israeli tourism.
White Supremacist Charged with Murder in Kansas Shootings
OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS The suspect in the killing of three people at two Jewish
facilities near Kansas City over the weekend could face the death penalty on state murder
charges filed Tuesday, prosecutors said.
Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, who also goes by the name Glenn Miller, likely will face
federal charges that also could carry the death penalty in the killings Sunday afternoon
in Overland Park, Kansas, an upscale suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. Cross was known by
law enforcement and human rights groups as a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan
movement and someone who has repeatedly expressed hatred for Jewish people. None of the
people he is accused of killing were Jewish.
Prosecutors charged Cross on Tuesday in Johnson County, Kansas, with one count of
capital murder in the fatal shooting of Reat Underwood, 14, and his grandfather William
Corporon, 69, outside a Jewish community center on Sunday. The Jewish Community Center
where Underwood and Corporon were shot will hold an interfaith service of "unity and hope"
on Thursday, and funeral services are set on Friday at the Methodist church the two
Cross was also charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the shooting death of
Terri LaManno, 53, outside the nearby Village Shalom Jewish retirement home. LaManno, who
attends a Catholic church, was there visiting her mother.
Cross, who is being held on $10 million bond, told the court he had received a copy of
the criminal complaint and requested court-appointed attorneys during an appearance via
video that lasted less than two minutes on Tuesday afternoon. "I don't have the money,"
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said the capital murder charge gives
prosecutors the option of seeking the death penalty, but he had not yet determined if he
will pursue that. A conviction would automatically carry a sentence of life without
parole. "I don't take that decision lightly," Howe said. "He's committed some terrible
crimes. This is about making sure justice is done."
The count of premeditated first-degree murder brings a sentence of up to life in
prison, with parole not considered for 25 years, Howe said. Cross' next court appearance
was scheduled on April 24.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading anti-hate group, has been tracking Cross for
years, they said. The group said he was involved in creating an armed paramilitary
organization in North Carolina 20 years ago and is a "raging anti-Semite" who has posted
online commentary such as "No Jews, Just Right" along with calls to "exterminate the
Jews." He served time in prison on weapons charges and for making threats through the
mail, the group said.
Kansas' U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said it is the bias and belief of the suspect, not
the identities of the victims, that determines whether or not federal hate-crime laws
apply. Grissom said federal charges, which also could carry the death penalty, were not
likely to be filed for a week or more.
The Kansas City-area shootings came as the number of violent attacks on Jews nationally
has grown in the last few years, even though non-violent attacks have decreased, according
to the Anti-Defamation League. "The shooting at the Kansas Jewish community centers is a
sad and tragic event which reminds us where the spread of anti-Semitism and racism can
lead," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League said in a
Violent assaults on Jewish individuals or those perceived to be Jewish rose to 31 in
2013, up from 17 in 2012, 19 in 2011 and 22 in 2010, according to the group, which
prepares an annual audit of incidents.
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