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Mike Pence's Christian Faith Is an Asset to His Role in the Middle East

Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi called Vice President Mike Pence a fanatic, really?
Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference, Washington, D.C., June 10, 2017.

There was something surreal about watching Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi called Vice President Mike Pence a fanatic. One thing Ashrawi should know well is fanaticism. The term hardly describes Pence, but it does describe what Ashrawi represents.

Although raised as a Christian, Ashrawi's cause is steeped in Islamic fundamentalism and fanaticism, unless, of course, one believes that blowing oneself up to gain admittance to paradise is a sign of religious moderation.

"Hanan Ashrawi ... has boldly stated for the worldwide TV audience that she is a true descendant of the first Christians, and that they were Palestinians. Of course, this statement does not contain a shred of truth, since her Arab people did not inhabit the land of Israel until some six hundred years after the New Testament era. We seldom stop to evaluate the absurdity of such statements. If Ashrawi really were a descendant of the first Christians, then her ancestry would actually be Jewish."

But that was not Ashrawi's only historical fabrication. She has pointedly denied that the Mizrachi Jews of the Arab world were ethnically cleansed by hostile governments. She alleges that one day they decided to grab a rucksack, freely leave their homes and possessions behind, and gladly pay an exit tax, in some cases, for the privilege.

Whatever her upbringing, Ashrawi represents an ideology that denies the existence of Jews in ancient Judea and alleges that the prophets of Judaism and Christianity were Muslims, even though Islam did not appear on the scene until more than a millennium and a half after Judaism and nearly 600 years after Christianity took root in the region.

What really troubles Ashrawi and other Palestinian leaders is that Pence's embrace of Christianity eliminates any likelihood that he will tolerate the historical and theological distortions that the Palestinians have peddled to Western leftists who live in a state of moral ambiguity and moral relativism.

To describe the post-colonial world, the secular Left adopted the notion that all cultures are equal. A culture that subjugates women and endorses capital punishment for witchcraft is no different than a modern culture that codifies the rule of humane law that strives for equality and the assessment of actual crimes.

But the moral equivalence espoused by the secular Left was not sufficient to denigrate America. It was soon overshadowed by a new ideology that recreated America as corrupt and contemptible. In universities, not only are white Americans deplorable but America is also not as virtuous as most third-world countries.

Leftists who have embraced the Palestinian cause tried to understand their culture without believing in their own. They sought to excuse Palestinian terrorism as the only option of a weak, oppressed people trying to create a political system that would enable them to submit to a tyrant who shared their tribal identity.

While American bodies piled up from Palestinian terrorism operations, American dollars continued to flow into the Palestine Liberation Organization coffers. Only a professional diplomat could find a rationale for something at such variance with common sense.

The Palestinians have not met a Mike Pence before. Grounded in Midwestern values, a Jesus follower whose faith provides an internal gyroscope of values, Pence is not going to accept the revisionist history of the Islamic world that claims the Jews never lived in Judea and Jesus was a Palestinian.

Pence knows Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. As a pragmatist, he sees it is the location where foreign diplomats meet Israeli government officials. As a student of history, he knows it is where the Jewish Temples were built. As a Christian, he knows it is where Jesus preached.

He does not care to grapple with Palestinian rationales for terrorism and their refusal to accept offers of statehood when it has been in their grasp since the British Peel Commission of 1937.

Pence brings common sense to the Arab/Israeli conflict. It is long overdue.Veteran diplomats and experienced statesmen sold Israel on the Oslo Accords, which brought the kleptocratic Yasser Arafat and his thugs back from Tunisia to be installed first in Gaza and then on the so-called West Bank, as a bunch of serial killers waiting to ply their psychopathic trade. How many lives on both sides have been lost by this tragic decision!

Dennis Ross, who has advised numerous presidents on the Arab/Israeli conflict, forced Israel to allow construction materials into Gaza when Israel said it was obvious that the materials would be used to construct tunnels to wage war against Israel. Years later, Ross admitted he was wrong.

The Palestinians must now deal with the practical intelligence of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Gone are the days of the Obama administration that saw Israel as the problem and the "moderate" illegitimate Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as the solution.

Abbas is serving the thirteenth year of his four-year term. Gone are the days when an American administration was willing to buy into the Palestinians' faux narrative.

Mike Pence brings a refreshing reality to the Middle East. His Christian faith is an asset to any discussion about the region's future.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter

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