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The U.S. Must Aid Persecuted Christians

Taking stock of the horrific persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, Tina Rodriguez calls on their American coreligionists to encourage the U.S. government to defend them:

[The U.S.] must recognize that religious freedom is a critical linchpin for every other human right and for peace and security globally. When that freedom suffers, so too does the stability of a country. As the situations in Iraq and Syria have shown, when religious oppression runs rampant, it leads to military conflict and humanitarian crisis. It also destabilizes countries, and there terrorist networks find safe havens from which they can launch attacks on America. Religious freedom is a national-security imperative. . . .

We cannot ignore abuses of this freedom in countries considered allies. When we do, Americans suffer and conflicts escalate. . . . In Iraq, the U.S. continues to aid in the defeat of Islamic State while saying nothing about the need for legal changes that would ensure the long-term viability of communities facing sectarian conflict and genocide. We should invest in programs that bolster local leadership and respect for religious freedom to help mitigate potential conflict. . . .

[T]here should be high-level involvement to ensure that foreign-service officers are receiving the training required by law in religious freedom. . . . When Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman, was imprisoned in Sudan and sentenced to death for apostasy, U.S.-embassy officials were woefully absent in aiding her. Her husband was an American citizen, and she was shackled to a prison floor with her eighteen-month-old son while her baby girl was born. Still, the officials did nothing. The time for doing nothing is over.

Read more at National Review

More about: Freedom of Religion, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, Sudan, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC