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Report on Religious Oppresssion
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 30, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Yesterday the US State Department published its Report on International Religious Freedom. The gist will not surprise you, it is the details that are appalling.

Since 1998, when Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act, the State Department has been required by law to submit a report on the state of religious freedom in the world.

There is no question that in many parts of the world people are persecuted because of who they are. They are murdered because of the tribe they are in and the religious community they are members of.

I have written about the oppression of Christians in Egypt and the oppression of Shiites in Iraq. The report tells their story.

In the Syrian city of Homs there were 160,000 Christians just three years ago. Today there are fewer than 1,000. In Mosul a city taken over by ISIS, the second largest city in Iraq, there are now 20 Christian families. Three weeks ago there were 20,000 Christians. ISIS gave them an alternative - leave, convert or die.

This madness must be stopped.

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Israel Has Another Stage in Gaza
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday July 29, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

At a press conference yesterday Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon announced that there will be a tactical change in Israel's approach over the next few days.

He said:

"If the leaders of Hamas believe that they will be able to keep up a constant barrage of missiles, rockets and terrorist attacks - they are making a big mistake. If terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip think that they'll be able to break the State of Israel and our citizens - in the next few days they'll understand how wrong they are. They're firing at us and we will hit them hard."

The statement by Yaalon predicts that Israel will not merely continue to strike at Hamas as they have been doing, but that Israel is preparing to "hit them hard."

That means that, up until now, Israel has restrained itself. It means that in the final stages of Operation Preventive Edge Israel will go the distance to wipe out Hamas' infrastructure, including the tunnels, and to truly hurt Hamas.

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US - Israel Tensions Rise
By Micah Halpern

Monday July 28, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Tensions between the US and Israel are now becoming public.

Israelis feels that the United States is not dealing straight with them. Israel feels that the US was simply pressuring them, not Hamas, to accept the terms of the Kerry ceasefire. And Israel feels that the US was pushing Hamas' terms for the ceasefire.

Israel is so upset that they leaked the entire proposed deal to the Haaretz newspaper so that everyone can read the details and confirm for themselves that, indeed, the United States had practically abandoned Israel on this issue. Readers of the proposed document for a ceasefire are left asking what the United States was even thinking in putting those ideas on paper as an official proposal.

As you can imagine, the leaking of the document really ticked off the United States. The US responded by hemming and hawing and saying that the document was meant for comments - not as a final agreement.

The entire episode has shown that there is a real disconnect between the United States and Israel. And it underscores the fact that there is very little good faith between the two countries at this juncture.

Israel thinks that the United States is more interested in a ceasefire than in returning calm to the region. For the United States, getting everyone to stop shooting is a priority. The United States has misplaced priorities.

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Ugly Anti Semitism in Europe
By Micah Halpern

Sunday July 27, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

We have been witnessing a huge spike in anti-Semitism in Europe. Much has to do with Israeli Operation Preventive Edge. Preventive Edge is not the cause of the anti-Semitism, it is the release valve for the hatred. The hatred was been simmering, just under the surface, waiting to erupt.

According to reports in Belgium this week, some shops are not serving Jews. The most dramatic example is a cafe which posted two signs one in Turkish and one in French. The Jewish Forward reports the signs as saying "Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Jews are not under any circumstances." The French version of the sign replaced "Jews" with "Zionists."

In addition, outside that same cafe, two flags were hung. The Palestinian flag and the Israeli flag - with a huge red X through it and two kafiyahs, Palestinian scarves, hanging on it.

Sadly, when I wrote about this hatred last week, some people responded saying that those who were exhibiting this ugly hatred were not Europeans but Muslim immigrants --- well, to those people I say, that makes them Europeans.

It is the role of the host nation to educate their immigrants as to what is and what is not acceptable in their country.

I was glad to see the foreign ministers of several European nations stand up this week and, in unison, renounce the rise of anti-Semitism.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Hamas Being Rcvd By Iran Hezbollah and Syria
By Micah Halpern

Saturday July 26, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

One of the very bad consequences of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, a consequence that no one else seems to be speaking about, is that this conflict may very well be uniting some very bad, even evil, forces in the Islamic world.

Syria had successfully drove Hamas away from Hezbollah and Iran and Syria. But over the past few days Hamas representatives have had conversations with Hezbollah and Iran. That is bad.

Until now, Hamas has been isolated. Not just politically isolated but also isolated in terms of resources, money and weapons. Only Qatar has been supporting Hamas.

That fissure was caused by Hamas siding with the Sunnis as they were trying to oust Assad in Syria. Iran and Hezbollah took exception to that decision and it was a very ugly divorce.

If there is a rapprochement now - political, economic, weaponry - it will open a whole font of support for Hamas at a time when they are reaching the very end of their stockpiles of weapons and other resources.

Unfortunately this is happening just as Israel is gearing up for a strike that should end Hamas' weapons cache and ability to strike at Israel. If Hamas rekindles their relationship with Iran, Hezbollah and Syria their weapon flow is very likely to be revived.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Where's the Outrage?
By Micah Halpern

Friday July 25, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Where is the outrage?

That was the question a friend posed to me the other day. He was asking why civilized leaders of the world were silent when Hamas attacked and publicly declared that they were targeting civilian transportation and civilian aviation - attacking Israel's largest airport, Ben Gurion.

There has been no official comment by world leaders following the declaration by Hamas. It is as if it is OK for Hamas to target a civilian airport. It is as if the world expected Hamas to target civilian aviation.

But it is not OK. And it is not OK that Hamas has not even been chastised, let alone censured or condemned, for threatening to attack Ben Gurion Airport.

World leaders should be up in arms, they should demand that Hamas be isolated. Instead we have another, blatant, example of the double standard. Israel is condemned for hurting civilians after warning them. Hamas is permitted to attack an airport.

The world is afraid to condemn Hamas, afraid to condemn that which is wrong. Hamas is a terrorist organization - and the world is scared of terror, and that terror is paralyzing.

That scares me.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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Rioters Attack Israeli Soccer Team in Austria
By Micah Halpern

Thursday July 24, 2014

I've Been Thinking:

Since the beginning of Operation Preventive Edge, there has been a dramatic increase in attacks against Jews around the world.

In France, two synagogues were fire bombed. People have been assaulted. Pro-Palestinian protests have turned into violent mobs of anti-Semitic riots.

In Austria yesterday a sporting event turned very ugly. Maccabi Haifa soccer team played an exhibition match against Lille from France in Austria. In the 84th minute a group of rioters rushed the field and started beating up the Israeli team which, in turn, started kicking and hitting back. Security was slow to respond and in the end calm was restored but the game was called.

Across Europe there has been an increase in violence and rhetoric against Jews and Israel.

The rhetoric is often couched as anti-Zionism and not anti-Semitism.
In reality, there is no difference between the two - anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Violent riots may start off using terms that are anti-Israel but soon the vitriol turns to hatred of the Jew.

The anti-Zionist cliche is simply a socially acceptable veneer for anti-Semitism.

Read my latest book THUGS. It's easy. Just click.
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