Jewish World Update May/Jun 2021

New ‘Secular Democrats’ Gunning for Christians
A new group of “Democrats” has emerged in America that intends to wipe Christian values from the nation’s landscape. Secular Democrats of America (seculardems.org) has produced a 28-page manifesto for the Biden administration that calls Christians “anti-democratic and anti-scientific” and “a national security threat” to the United States. And it wants more consideration given to atheists and Muslims.

Jan Markell, founder and president of Olive Tree Ministries and host of the radio program “Understanding the Times,” commented, “The road ahead in America will be the greatest challenge ever for people of faith. The Godless Left is now in charge of our country: White House, House, and Senate. And these secularists are urging all leaders to stick it to people of faith. To take away every aspect of religious freedom. In their sights are churches, ministries, and individuals who refuse to see government as god.”

The Secular Democrats’ “key issues” involve education, civil rights, healthcare, “scientific integrity,” “protecting children and minors,” and “military and national character.” Here are a few excerpts from its blueprint for America:

We urge you [President Biden] not to underestimate the institutional strength of what we refer to (interchangeably) in this document as the “Christian nationalist movement” or the “religious right.” This movement is extraordinarily well-funded and well-organized. . . . Its political ideology is anti-democratic and anti-scientific. It provides constant cover for white supremacy. And it advances a reactionary economic policy, tax policy, and dominionist view of the environment that undermines our capacity and will to address the climate crisis. Its agenda rests on a pinched interpretation of biblical principles preached by Christian nationalist leadership and thought leaders. With their political agenda sanctioned by a higher power, their base of support is disciplined, motivated, and deeply committed to a vision that does not align with our basic constitutional values and democratic principles.

We ask that you counter this movement’s narrative by actively working to dismantle its grip on our government and counter its inaccurate and revisionist messaging around our nation’s founding.

We recommend you: encourage the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to dedicate resources to deradicalization programs aimed at hate groups, including, but not limited to, white nationalists; increase monitoring of such groups, including the online environment, and take action to address increased hate crimes toward minority faith communities; and shift rhetoric to label violent white nationalist extremists as terrorists.

According to Gallup, the most mistrusted religious minorities in the United States are atheists and Muslims. Acknowledging the rights and dignity of these communities would have a bottom-up effect.

Taxpayer dollars should not be funneled either to contractors or grantees that discriminate on the basis of religion, or to programs that promote a sectarian agenda, such as private religious schools, crisis pregnancy centers, and abstinence-only sex education.

Reverse all executive orders, rules, memoranda, and other actions that exempt faith-based organizations contracting with the federal government from nondiscrimination requirements that apply to secular organizations, including employment discrimination. This includes the following: . . . Dismantle the Department of Justice Religious Liberty Task Force; dismantle the HHS Conscience and Religious Freedom Division; repeal Executive Order 13798, Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty and reverse its implementation across various executive agencies; rescind and replace the Department of Justice Memorandum, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty.

This lengthy document can be read in its entirety at tinyurl.com/SDmanifesto-1.

Frontier Airline Accused of Anti-semitism
Frontier Airlines is disputing accusations of anti-Semitism following eyewitness reports and videos posted online that show its crew forcing a Hasidic Jewish family off a flight from Miami to New York City for not wearing masks, according to news reports. The videos show everyone masked except for a 16-month-old, who is not required to be masked by law or by Frontier’s own policy. After the family deplaned, the crew is seen applauding and exchanging high fives. One crew member declared, “A job well done to those Jews.” Yossi Gestetner, cofounder of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council, called Frontier’s version of the incident “a demonstrable lie,” algemeiner.com reported.

ZOA Berates Random House for Obama Book ‘Falsehoods’
The Zionist Organization of America has written an 11-page letter to Random House, publisher of Barack Obama’s book A Promised Land, rebuking it for failing to check facts and thereby spreading a false narrative about Israel. “To paraphrase [the late] Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, President Obama is entitled to his own opinions about Israel, which he expresses in Chapter 25 of his book. But he is not entitled to his own facts,” it reads. The letter repudiates 15 falsehoods and can be read in its entirety at tinyurl.com/ZOA-BObook.

Massive 1,200-ton Oil Spill ‘Environmental Terrorism’
The colossal oil spill in February that shuttered Israel’s beaches and killed marine life was “environmental terrorism,” declared Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel, who blamed Iran and “a pirate Libyan-owned ship,” the Emerald. “We’re talking about environmental criminals . . . terrorists,” she said, reported worldisraelnews.com. The 1,200 tons of sticky tar contaminated 100 miles of Israel’s Mediterranean shoreline in what is considered one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

ICC Investigation of Israel Provokes Outrage
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish leaders are outraged at the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes against “Palestine.” There is no country of Palestine, and the court has no jurisdiction over Israel. “Without any jurisdiction,” Netanyahu said, “it decided that our brave soldiers, who take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties against the worst terrorists in the world who deliberately target civilians, it’s our soldiers who are war criminals,” he said sarcastically. Even the United States State Department weighed in: “The ICC has no jurisdiction over this matter. Israel is not a party to the ICC . . . and we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel,” it said in a statement. The leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed outrage at the Palestinians’ attempt to “weaponize” the court.

Landmark Decision for Jewish Converts
Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that people who convert to Judaism in Israel under the Reform and Conservative movements may become Israeli citizens under the Law of Return. Previously, all conversions in Israel had to be performed under the auspices of the Orthodox; and “only people with Jewish heritage or married to someone with Jewish heritage” could become citizens, reported worldisraelnews.com. Unhappy about the decision, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said, “The Reform and Conservative [movements] term ‘conversion’ is nothing but a falsification of Judaism and will mean including thousands of Gentiles among the people of Israel.” Reform movement converts “and the like are not Jewish,” added Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau. “No Supreme Court decision will change that fact.”

American Airlines to Fly Direct New York–Tel Aviv
American Airlines will launch a new direct flight between JFK International Airport in New York City and Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv beginning May 6. According to The Jerusalem Post, customers will be able to preorder kosher meals and kosher wine on every flight. “The flights are part of a new strategic partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue, creating the biggest flight network in the northeastern US,” The Post reported.

Royal Caribbean, Israel Team Up for Covid-free Mediterranean Cruise
Royal Caribbean International will offer cruises leaving the port of Haifa, Israel, on its new, state-of-the-art ship, Odyssey of the Seas, to Israelis who prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, reported worldisraelnews.com. “In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal Caribbean will be the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings,” the news service said, where all crew and guests 16 and older will be inoculated. The ship will cruise to cities in the Mediterranean, including the Greek Isles and Cyprus.

For news about Israel updated daily, log on to foi.org/news.

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