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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Judeo Christian’

Open Letter: Dear Pastor Hagee and Christian Zionists

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

[Pastor John Hagee is the head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) - an American pro-Israel Christian organization that defines itself as "a national grassroots movement focused on the support of Israel." It is the largest Christian pro-Israel organization in the United States.]

Dear Pastor Hagee and Christians Zionists,

Thank you for the work that you are doing. Christians supporting Israel is a beautiful phenomenon and it is beginning to heal the many wounds that Jews suffered at the hands of persecutors in the name of the Church for almost two-millennia. It is amazing to see Christians singing Israeli songs in beautiful harmony, waving the flag of Israel along with the flag of the USA, and even donating their hard-earned money to many causes of Israel. It is a sight that past generations could not have imagined, and it is a blessing for Israel and a blessing for Christians as well.

To be sure, there is still lingering suspicion between our two worlds. Among the Jews, there are many who doubt the sincerity of Christians with regard to Israel. Jewish skepticism is understandable since the dark past is still fresh while some Christian circles continue to practice underhanded missionizing tactics against Jews and maintain a goal of infiltrating Israel. These keep many Jews from believing that there are Christians who truly love Israel without ulterior motives.

For its side, the Christian world is certainly not homogeneous. While Israel-lovers make their voices heard, Israel-haters, like those who recently organized the “Christ at the Checkpoint Conference” in Bethlehem seek to undermine Israel’s sovereignty. These Christians do not see the ingathering of the Jews to the land of Israel as a fulfillment of prophecy but rather an obstacle to their theological supremacy. For them, replacement theology is alive and well, with Christianity attempting to best Judaism and Palestine aiming to replace Israel.

This is why true Christian Zionism is so important: it gives a platform for Bible-believing pro-Israel Christians to show their real love for Israel, to heal the painful past, and to offset the forces that want to use Christianity to bring Israel down.

However, if Christian Zionism to is win the ideological war against replacement theology, and earn Jewish trust, Christian Zionism needs to take a stand on real issues. Standing with Israel means backing Israel when we face our enemies. Today, those enemies use, more and more, the tool of delegitimization to remove the underpinnings of the Jewish State. Shockingly, some of the US Government’s own policies lend a hand to the delegitimization campaign, and it is in this arena where Israel-loving American citizens in general, and American Christian Zionists in particular, can make a difference.

Here is one example among many:

When I speak with American Christian groups I ask: “Do you know that the US is the number-one delegitimizer of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem?”

People are invariably shocked when I explain that the US refuses to place its embassy in Jerusalem because it does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, let alone the capital of Israel. The State Department does not even add the word “Israel” to the word “Jerusalem” in any official document including birth certificates, passports, and death certificates, so that children born in Jerusalem (like my daughter) have no “country of birth” listed in their American papers.

As Ambassador Yoram Ettinger has written: “Israel is the only country in the world, whose (3,000 year old) capital is not recognized by the State Department and by the Presidents of the US. However 71% [of the American people] support (and 9% oppose) Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.”

Geert Wilders: ‘The First Amendment Is What We Need in Europe’

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Address before the Gatestone Institute, New York City, April 30, 2012.

I am happy to be in New York again, even though in my country today it is Queen’s Day, a national celebration. This is why I am wearing my orange tie.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address all of you. It is always good to be among friends. It is an honor to be here in the presence of so many people who care for the preservation of freedom in our civilization.

It is great to be in America, the beacon of liberty, the land of the free, the land where people are still allowed to speak freely. I know what I am talking about. I was acquitted after a legal ordeal that lasted almost three years. I had been brought to court for criticizing Islam.

Though at the end of the day I was acquitted, the court case was a disgrace. It was a time, money, and energy-consuming nightmare. This charade that happened in the Netherlands for the last few years could not have happened in your great country, where the First Amendment guarantees people the freedom to express their opinions.

The First Amendment is what we need in the Netherlands and Europe.

I am in New York for the release of my book Marked for Death. It reveals how Islam has already profoundly changed Europe in the last decades. It exposes the cultural relativism which has affected Europe so deeply that many in Europe refuse to stand for liberty and prefer to appease Islam. It explains why Islam is a threat to freedom.

As you know, people who speak out like me pay a steep price for speaking these truths. Apart from legal attempts to silence me, there are also the threats by radical Muslims to kill me. I have been living under permanent police protection for almost eight years now. But I do not regret one word. I see it as my duty to warn the West.

I have traveled widely in the Islamic world. I have read the Koran. I have studied the life of Muhammad. It made me realize that Islam is primarily an ideology rather than a religion. This ideology wants to impose Islamic sharia law on the whole world, including us the Kafirs, the non-Muslims. This ideology is also outspokenly anti-Semitic.

This ideology also harms Muslims. Islam believes that everything men have to know can be found in the Koran. As such, it is hostile to all forms of innovation. But without innovation there can be no progress and people cannot prosper.

Many people unfortunately are blind to the nature of Islam because they do not realize what Islam is, and mistakenly believe that it is a religion just like any other religion.

I have written my book to inform them.

Islam fails four major tests that religions should fulfill:

1. Adherence to a religion must be a personal choice;
2. no religion should demand that those who leave it be killed; this makes it a totalitarian ideology rather than a religion.
3. a religion must never mandate the subjugation of those who do not belong to it;
4. a religion must be in accord with basic human rights.

I have also written my book because I am not a defeatist. The West is able to defeat totalitarianism just as it defeated Nazism and Communism in the past.

My book is dedicated to freedom. It is inspired by many freedom fighters, from previous generations but also people from our age.

Fortunately, we are not alone in the fight for freedom. We are in the company of heroes and friends. This gives us the strength to continue.

In order to defeat Islam so, we must do four things.

The first and most important is to speak the truth, always and everywhere also about Islam. Like the Americans, the people in the Netherlands and other European countries desperately need a First Amendment.

That will allow them to tell the truth about Islam and Muhammad. We must encourage Muslims to leave Islam and to choose freedom and prosperity.

Secondly, we have to believe in the superiority of our Western values. If we do not believe in our own Western values, we will not be prepared to defend them. That is why we have to end the biggest disease in the world today, the cultural relativism which pretends that all cultures are equal. Our Judeo-Christian, humanist civilization is more free, more democratic, more tolerant than any civilization the world has ever seen. We should not be afraid to say so.

Thirdly, we must stop the Islamization of our societies by restricting immigration from Islamic countries, and expelling those who violate our laws and commit violence. If you respect our laws you are welcome to stay; if you don’t, you do not belong here.

And fourthly, we must reassert our national identities. The nation-state enables self-government and self-determination. This insight led the Zionists to establish Israel as the homeland of the Jews.

Zionism teaches us one of the most important lessons which the modern world needs today. Theodor Herzl argued that a Jewish state would facilitate “a new blossoming of the Jewish spirit.” Today, we need our own respective nation-states to preside over a new blossoming of our own Western spirit.

Our nations are the homes in which freedom and democracy prosper. This is true for the Netherlands. This is true for America. This is true for Israel.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. It is a beacon of freedom in an unfree region, a beacon of life in a place of darkness. If Israel falls, the West falls.

Mothers in the West can sleep safely because Israeli mothers at night worry about their sons in the army. Their fight is our fight. We should support it.

Israel is, indeed, a vital outpost of Western civilization. That is why Islam conditions the faithful to hate the Jewish state and to view its destruction as an imperative. It is our duty to stand with Israel.

In my book I explain how we can defend freedom and oppose Islamization and cultural relativism in a non-violent and democratic way. In fact, that is what my party, the Party for Freedom, is doing in the Netherlands.

When I began to speak out against Islam 10 years ago, two things happened. Extremist Muslims from the Netherlands and all over the world marked me for death, but Dutch people came to me to express their support. In 2010, we became the third biggest party in the Netherlands. Though the PVV did not become a coalition partner in the Dutch government, for almost two years we supported a center-right minority government in return for measures to roll back Sharia in Holland, stop the Islamization process, and counter cultural relativism.

The Dutch government even had the audacity to speak out against the powerful OIC, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The OIC is an international organization of 57 Islamic countries, most of them autocracies.

This OIC constitutes the largest voting bloc in the United Nations. It criticized the fact that Dutch judges acquitted me of all charges in my court case. But the Dutch government made it clear to the OIC that freedom of speech will not be muzzled in the Netherlands. It told the OIC very bluntly: “The Dutch government dissociates itself fully from the request to silence a politician.” Never before had a European government had the courage to confront the OIC in such a forceful way.

Unfortunately, last week, the Party for Freedom decided to end its support for the government. As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision for us, given the many things also on the subject of Islamization that we were still to achieve. Unfortunately, however, previous Dutch governments – as governments elsewhere in Europe – have signed away a significant part of our own sovereignty to the EU, the European Union, a supranational institution run by unelected and undemocratic bureaucrats.

The EU controls our borders and decides over most immigration rules. The EU also imposes a policy of austerity on our country.

When the government, in order to comply with the EU rules, decided to raise taxes and slash the budget at the expense of the citizens rather than by trimming the government, my party had no other option but to bring the government down and we did so last week.

We are now heading for elections, which will be held on September 12th. Our electoral campaign will focus on the need to restore our national sovereignty, because without our sovereignty we cannot defend our identity and fight against Islamization.

My friends, we continue our efforts. Our opponents have not been able to bully me. They have not been able to silence me. They shriek and yell, but we will never give in. One of my favorite presidents Ronald Reagan once said: “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted.” Reagan was right. The future belongs to us.

In 2008, I released Fitna, a documentary about the true message of the Koran. Tomorrow, I release my book. I wrote it to inform people, and also to encourage freedom-loving Muslims to leave Islam. And to see Islam for what it really is.

I wholeheartedly support those who struggle for freedom in the Islamic world. The Arab, Turkish, Iranian, Pakistani, and Indonesian people have tremendous potential. If they could liberate themselves from the yoke of Islam, if they would stop taking Muhammad as a role model, and if they get rid of the Koran, they would be able to achieve amazing things.

As I say in my book – my message to them, to all the Muslims all over the world, is clear: “Fatalism is no option, Insh’Allah is a curse; Submission is a disgrace. Free yourselves. It is up to you.”

I receive hundreds of emails from all over the world. From people in Islamic countries, and from people in Western countries begging for help. They, too, want to fight for freedom and stop the Islamization process. We have to advise and help.

I leave you with another Reagan quote: “We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow.” Indeed, my friends, there are so many things which we can do. Things which we must do. But we can do them only if we can count on each other. You can count on me. I spoke, I speak, I shall continue to speak. I hope I can continue to count on your support.

We are fighting for the future of our children, the survival of the Western spirit, the preservation of our liberty and democracy, our Judeo-Christian and humanist heritage.

We must be brave and save our heritage and our own constitution. The West is in danger, but we can still prevail. Even when we are insulted, even when we are harassed and intimidated — even when we are marked for death — we must stand up for our values, tell the truth and never, ever, be silent.

Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

Chagall’s Bible Images

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Chagall and the Bible


Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris


71, Rue du Temple, Paris, France


www.mahj.org


Until June 5, 2011

 

 


Ironically the same quote by art critic Robert Hughes cited in my May 20th review “Chagall and the Cross” namely that Marc Chagall was the “quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century,” is applicable in our consideration of Chagall’s images for his graphic masterpiece, The Bible.  Except here it illuminates the truth: his greatness as a Jewish artist is founded on his lifelong obsession with the Torah.  No matter how far he strayed from his Jewish roots, even his late-in-life dalliance with Judeo-Christian universalism as surveyed in that review, nothing could compromise his amazing insights and comprehension of the Torah narratives.

 

His status as a “quintessential Jewish artist” began when he formed a working relationship with the legendary art dealer and publisher, Ambroise Vollard, in Paris sometime after 1922.  Chagall had recently arrived from his native Russia and was by then somewhat of a celebrity.  As such he was commissioned by Vollard to illustrate Gogol’s Dead Souls, a masterpiece of 19th century Russian literature.  Afterward Vollard commissioned him to illustrate the 17th century French classic, La Fontaines’s Fables, further developing Chagall’s etching techniques and skill as an illustrator of complex narratives.  By mutual consent, in 1931 the next project was a series of 105 black and white etchings of the Bible.  According to scholar Una E. Johnson, Vollard “wanted to be immortalized as the publisher of a modern Bible.” 

 

In my review of “Chagall’s Bible” at MOBIA (Jewish Art 01-02-2009) I described the two editions of hand colored etchings in this series published by Verve magazine in 1956 and again in 1960. These colored versions were all based on the original black and white etchings done more than 20 years earlier between 1931 and 1939.  Much to my surprise the current exhibition in the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris shows 20 original color studies in gouache (opaque water color) of these biblical narratives, all done in 1930-31.  They are simply a revelation.

 

            Previously Chagall’s depictions from the Bible were limited and not seriously engaged in the substance of the subject, always reflections of his personal life or memories of the Russian shtetl.  Now, at age 44, he unleashed his fully mature imagination and artistic prowess upon the heart of the Torah narratives.  In comparison with the black and white etchings that would follow in the next eight years, these color studies are deeply poetic and nuanced.

 

The Creation of Man shows a winged figure flying across the page carrying the newly created Adam, seemingly still asleep, echoing Genesis 2:8 which sates that after God created Adam he placed him in the garden in Eden.  This mysterious nocturnal scene is illuminated by a glowing sun that still contains the smaller moon within it.  While Hashem’s name is written in the sun-moon orb, it seems that Chagall had originally considered the winged figure to be a depiction of God Himself, but later changed his mind.  Over the years we see this motif of God/angel interchangeability in many of Chagall’s biblical images, much as our Torah text will switch between an angel speaking on God’s behalf and God speaking directly.  The luminescent colors subtly shift from the warm whites of the angel to the pale pink of Adam in rich contrast with the deep blacks and blues of the nighttime sky.

 

 



Noah and the Angel [detail] (1931) gouache on paper by Marc Chagall


Courtesy National Museum Marc Chagall, Nice


 

 

Chagall’s use of angelic figures is given free rein in many of these images, not the least in his Noah images.  Noah and the Angel depicts a celestial being pointing heavenward to the Divine name in a starry sky as he commands Noah to construct the ark.  Noah, garbed in deep earth reds, is wonderstruck, gazing at the angel under his crimson streimel.  This angel is truly unique in that his wings do not function as limbs to fly but rather cover his body, perhaps reflecting the prophet’s description in Ezekiel 1:11.  The pure faith and astonishment in Noah’s face and hands aptly captures his emotions.  This was the first time in the ten generations between Adam and Noah that God spoke again to man.

 

 



Noah’s Rainbow (1931) gouache on paper by Marc Chagall


Courtesy National Museum Marc Chagall, Nice


 

 

The mood has radically changed in Chagall’s Noah’s Rainbow.  Here Noah, dressed in all black as an Eastern European chassid has been knocked down by both the covenant of the rainbow and the terrible events he has just witnessed in the flood and annihilation of all mankind.  While the promise of God’s beneficence is reflected in the angelic profile and gesture, it is underscored by an awesome fear of what God is capable of when mankind sins.

 

 



Abraham and the Angels Going to Sodom (1931) gouache on paper by Marc Chagall


Courtesy National Museum Marc Chagall, Nice


 

 

The theme of man becoming increasingly overwhelmed in his interchanges with the Divine becomes a subplot as the biblical narrative unfolds.  Abraham and the Angels Going to Sodom depicts a captive Abraham, surrounded and firmly guided by two winged beings as the lead angel points down to a tiny city in the lower left.  We are high above the doomed city, practically up in the clouds, and yet the humble and somewhat bewildered Abraham is forced to confront Sodom’s grim fate.  As in many of these images, it is Chagall’s genius and light touch that depicts the narrative in a way which gives insight into the emotions and dilemmas of our patriarchs.

 

 



Abraham and Isaac [detail] (1931) gouache on paper by Marc Chagall


Courtesy National Museum Marc Chagall, Nice


 

 

These are essentially Chagall’s first visual explorations of the fundamental biblical stories.  Chagall’s depiction of Abraham and Isaac on the way to Mount Moriah has the refreshing directness of a folktale.  Isaac is seen lugging a heavy bag, presumably containing the chopped wood for the altar.  Abraham walks pensively alongside him, knife in one hand and a lit candle for the fire in the other.  With this charming and clearly unrealistic scenario (since no candle could last for three days) Chagall has transformed the straightforward text into a metaphor.  While the knife represents, of course, the harsh reality of God’s command, the candle is the truth of Torah that will somehow illuminate and explain the deed about to be done.

 

 



Rebecca and Eliezer (1931) gouache on paper by Marc Chagall


Courtesy National Museum Marc Chagall, Nice


 

 

Perhaps one of the most poetic images of this series is Rebecca and Eliezer. It depicts an exquisite Rebecca, here quite grown-up, balancing a water jug on her head as the astounded Eliezar looks on.  A curious camel driver sits atop the camel also watching the scene unfold.  Eliezer is wide-eyed, his hand gesturing to himself as he realizes that God has provided the perfect match for his master’s son.  Aside from the beauty of her soft billowy blouse and rich crimson skirt, it is Rebecca’s closed eyes and pensive expression that clinch our understanding that indeed she is Isaac’s bashert.  With the exception of her red skirt, the image’s colors are dominated by the soft blue sky, sandy ground and the pastel-green of the servant’s cloak.

 

In each of these remarkable early color drawings for the graphic project, the Bible, that Chagall would refine, develop and elaborate over the next fifty years of his career, he has established a wellspring of insight and interpretation of Torah.   While some, like Noah and the Angel and Abraham and Isaac, never made it into the final set of etchings, nonetheless the majority of these images Chagall created in 1931 would become the basis for much of his subsequent biblical artwork.  Most importantly it was the methodology developed in those years that became the model to investigate the narrative from a deeply personal and empathetic point of view, always imbuing the characters with an abiding humanity and involvement with the events as they unfolded.  And God, whether represented by one of His myriad angels or the Divine name written in the sky, was always close by in these images, deeply involved in the unfolding fate of his chosen people.  Chagall’s genius is to involve us in constantly unexpected ways with the biblical narrative that sets the essential tone of discovery and attachment so necessary to animate Jewish thought and art.  One couldn’t ask more of “the quintessential Jewish artist.”

 

 


 


Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com

The Bully Is Threatening

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

        I am often amazed by the reaction of world governments to the bullying tactics of the Muslim world. I remember as a kid having to decide whether to fight the bully, run away, or give him what he wanted when I could not run away. Most children eventually learned that if you stand up to a bully he usually backed down, but if you give in he will gain courage and continue to harass you.

 

         The world is facing a bully and has been giving in too often. The Muslim forces are poised to threaten much of the “infidel” world. When they strike or threaten any country or group, the reaction is appeasement and fear. How is it possible that the often-uneducated Muslim fanatics can strike such fear in the hearts of the Western world?

 

         The Twin Towers victory for Muslim fanatics has infused almost every Muslim with joy, hope and new courage. The Muslim has learned that with persistence, he can conquer the Judeo-Christian world – and then take care of all of the other infidels. The Arabs saw the amazing reaction of England and the United States to their terror. Bombs were NOT dropped on the supporters of terror – Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran or Iraq – but rather on insignificant Afghanistan. What a joke!

 

         The terrorists noted the punishment the West gave to its own citizens rather than to the Muslims. Airline security forces were forbidden to profile Arab-looking travelers. Instead, they panicked and chose little old ladies and government officers to search and harass instead of the potential Muslim terrorists. The reading material, liquids and nail files of its own citizens were confiscated, as the Muslims laughed at the stupidity of the West.

 

         For a very short while, we thought that the pope had the moral and spiritual strength to stand up and speak out against the Muslim threat to Christianity and to the rest of the world. How saddened and amazed we were at how frightened the papal reaction was to the violent Muslim protests. It was almost as if we were back in the 1940′s when the church feared to condemn the Nazi murder machine. Appeasement and neutrality were the guiding principles rather than justice, morality or goodness.

 

         The world now has more to fear, as the North Koreans build their bomb and distribute their knowledge to the Muslim world. Iran will soon have its bombs, yet the world remains impotent to take action, and cries for political action rather than military action are heard around the world. We have to be concerned about their feelings and not that they plan to murder us.

 

         Muslim troops from Russia are moving into Lebanon – and they will be the guardians of peace. Russia is sending supplies to another friend of peace, Syria. Fear has paralyzed the West, and economic and political advantage has blinded the East.

 

         We continue to wonder why the Western and Eastern worlds do not recognize the Muslim threat. More and more Muslims are emigrating to Europe and to the U.S. They are working to Islamicize Europe and the U.S. from within, and they do not hide their purpose. Do Russia, China, India and even Japan really believe that they will not be next? The pope and the Christian world have already capitulated to the Muslim threat. Look at the conditions of the Christians in Bethlehem and Jerusalem! The Christians are hiding their religion or leaving in droves and allowing the Muslims to take control. Will certain states in the U.S. fall to the same pressure and become Islamic? The Muslims have time and patience on their side, and will grow and gain strength, thanks in part to their high birth rate. Israel is not the only victim. It is, however, the only one that is aware of the danger. Will Asia continue to support Arab terror until the terror is directed against them?

 

         Muslims are not afraid to openly express their goal: “To convert the entire world to Islam.” Arabs everywhere, including in the U.S., applaud every terror victory by Islamic murderers. And why not?

 

         Liberals keep thinking that the Muslims are like Westerners and have similar values. They keep ignoring the fact that Westerners do not commit suicide murders or sacrifice their children or young adults as murdering bombers. Westerners do not consider murderers to be martyrs or consider repression of dissent and excessive reaction to minor insults as normal. Arabs do have these philosophies, and Arab mothers celebrate the death of their martyred children with happiness and the distribution of candy.

 

         Western society has become afraid; Islam is winning. When will the world wake up to the threat?

 

        Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/the-bully-is-threatening/2006/11/08/

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