On July 3, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), was ousted from power. His detractors came from many segments of Egyptian society, but it is the Coptic Christian community that the MB is scapegoating as the principal actor behind his removal. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that, in a recent article on the MB website entitled "The Military Republic of Tawadros" (Tawadros being the Coptic Orthodox pope), the MB urges its followers to believe that the Copts "openly and secretly led the process of opposition to the Islamic stream and this stream's rise to power."
Attacking the Copts will prove to be as destructive to Egypt as to the religious minority itself. Following Morsi's ouster, the MB rejected the invitation of interim president Adly Mansour to be part of the political process, and instead has taken to the streets. It seems intent on regaining some of its lost power through the time-honored tactic of stirring up political unrest and then negotiating reconciliation on its own terms.
Copts came under severe attack right after Morsi's removal and continue to bear the brunt of violence and threats from the MB and other Islamist groups. As a result, numerous churches have decided it is no longer safe for them to hold regular worship services, Sunday school, and catechesis classes. In Minya governorate, the Holy Mass is now being broadcast on the Internet so the faithful won't have to risk their lives praying in the churches. Elsewhere in Upper Egypt, liturgies finish by 7 a.m., and then for the rest of the day the churches are closed and put under guard. Death threats forced Pope Tawadros II to leave his seat at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo three weeks ago, and his whereabouts are now kept secret; the threats were issued because he attended a conference called by Egypt's military to work out the country's road map and because Copts had joined in the anti-Morsi protests. more >>
Here are my thoughts on why Secretary Kerry's Mideast peace process is flawed in ways that endanger Israel.
1) No Palestinian reciprocity at the outset. Israel agreed to release 104 convicted terrorists just to get the Palestinians to talk peace. Would the U.S. agree to release 104 Guantanamo prisoners for talks with anyone?
Israel will undoubtedly be blamed if negotiations fail, so it's unlikely that fair judgment by the international community motivated the release. Perhaps it was the price that Israel had to pay for a U.S. promise to prevent Iranian nukes and/or support Israel's efforts to stop them. If so, is the U.S. good for its word (despite Obama's repeated demonstrations that his Mideast "red lines" are meaningless)? more >>
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will gather in Washington, D.C. on Monday and Tuesday to re-start peace talks after nearly three years, thanks in large part to the diplomatic efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
"Both leaders have demonstrated a willingness to make difficult decisions that have been instrumental in getting to this point," Kerry said in the statement regarding the peace talks. "We are grateful for their leadership."
Monday's meeting serves as a new beginning for the talks that abruptly ended in 2010 regarding territory in the Middle East, where Palestine is seeking statehood on Israeli-occupied land. more >>
Hispanics have emerged as a voice for Israel in the United States in recent years and they were among the thousands who came out to show their support at the eighth annual Christians United for Israel (CUFI) summit this week in Washington, D.C.
"The majority of the Hispanic community are very pro-Israel and I believe it has to do with the religious ties behind it since most come from a Christian background and have grown up with the mentality that it is a mandate to love Israel and the Jewish people," said Melyssa Salazar, a CUFI member based in Las Vegas, to The Christian Post.
"Hispanics believe exactly what the Bible says and in fact it says that we are blessed if we bless Israel according to Genesis." more >>
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stirred up a crowd of thousands on Wednesday at the Christians United for Israel Annual Summit in Washington, D.C., as he criticized President Obama's foreign policy as one of "weakness" and "appeasement" while stressing the need to maintain a strong alliance with Israel.
"I commend everyone here for respecting the biblical admonition to stand with Israel," he said, praising their "commitment to speak the truth in an era when so many believe they know better than eternal truths." "The alliance between the United States and Israel must remain completely and entirely unshakeable."
Cruz sent a strong message to the Obama administration, saying what the United States needs are leaders who "clearly understand that America and Israel are not what's wrong with the world." more >>
The European Union recently sent out a directive barring its 28 members from cooperating with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The boycott includes "all funding, cooperation, and the granting of scholarships, research grants and prizes" to Israeli entities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
If this is how the EU chooses to spend its limited diplomatic and political resources "to help" the Middle East, then its moral compass is badly broken. The EU still hasn't even mustered the clarity or courage to join the USA, Canada, and six Gulf states (led by Bahrain) in designating Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even though Hezbollah has committed terrorist acts on EU soil that killed a EU citizen, and has supported Basher Assad's butchery in Syria. The EU has also failed to take any decisive action to address the urgent crises in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (which marches ever closer to nukes and imports ore -- for armor and missile production -- from Germany and France). And where is the EU's boycott of Mideast governments that persecute women, execute homosexuals, and condone the slaughter of Christians?
If the EU wants to wield its economic clout to impose peace on disputing parties, why not boycott China for its brutal occupation of Tibet? Clearly that occupation doesn't matter because the EU is China's largest trading partner. And why isn't the EU boycotting Northern Cyprus, which is under foreign military occupation by Turkey (against the wishes of the EU)? more >>