Religious and ethnic lobbies are dangerous things. They often intentionally spread misinformed and perpetuate ignorant foreign policies. Indeed, they want us to be misinformed and ignorant — in their favor.
Probably the most famous and influential is AIPAC – the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. They say, from their website, www.aipac.org , that their mission is to “strengthen the ties between the United States and its ally Israel”. No doubt they do that, but from all I have read, they do quite a bit more. They are able to channel campaign money to political opponents of people who are anti-Israel. They also are very successful in targeting politicians who are trying to extract us from, what seems to me, to be a mutually destructive relationship with a foreign country.
Other ethnic lobbies include the Cuban-Americans. Our policy toward Cuba is, in a word, NUTTY. Cuba presents no threat to the United States, yet we have special trade, tourist, and financial restrictions. Why, because both political parties need the Cuban-American vote concentrated in Florida — and those Cuban-Americans hate Castro. It was amusing when, in one of the Republican debates (in Florida) in which most of the candidates were reaffirming how much they hated Cuba, Ron Paul said, “These guys don’t seem to know that the cold war is over”. Good point, Ron.
During the “troubles” in Northern Ireland in which the Catholics and Protestants were trying to out-kill each other, it was pointed out in the British press that most of the guns and bullets that the Catholics were using were illegally smuggled from the US by Irish Catholic groups.
We are now confronted with a NEW issue in the Middle East – the intensifying of the wide-spread persecution of Christians.
It seems that everyone in that area of the world wants to die for their version of God. It takes two, of course. Others want to kill for their God. In the Middle East – heaven on earth – everyone gets to realize their fondest wish. You can die for Judaism, for Christianity, or for Islam. There are more Muslims in the Middle East so they do have an unfair disadvantage. They sometimes run out of Christians. Except for Israel, the Middle East ran out of Jews a long time ago. When there are no Jews or Christians available, the Muslims can go after each other. Isn’t that convenient! The Sunnis and Shiites have not exchanged Valentine cards in a long time, and seem to be more than willing to kill each other. All this must make sense to SOMEONE!
When the press tries to deal with the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the American news media runs into a new group. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a group of American Muslims who are attempting to show that they are as American as Jews or Christians are. I take them (CAIR) at their word. However, these types of organizations, whether AIPAC or CAIR tend to go too far. Education of their fellow Americans is fine with me but targeting political candidates who don’t agree with them is an outrage.
As Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in the February 13 issue of Newsweek, CAIR is “really quite effective in persuading leading American public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of “Islamophobia.”
If they are successful in doing this they are greatly contributing to the demise of the press, particularly the Washington Post as well as the New York Times, as trusted news sources. It is not any kind of “phobia” or “ism” if you simply report the truth and are careful with your words.
Indeed, there are sensitivities that need to be recognize. The “Muslims” did not fly an aircraft into the World Trade Center. What about those Muslims who were killed in the World Trade Center? Don’t they count? The “Jews” did not massacre an Arab village. What about those Jews who loudly expressed their disgust with what some Middle Eastern hotheads did? The English language is very much alive and vibrant. If a reporter cannot find the right words to describe what happened, well then, maybe he should reconsider his career choice. If a newspaper or TV doesn’t have the guts to publish the news, or they make up news as Fox does, they should take up blogging as a hobby and let reporting of the news go to someone who knows how to do it.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali goes on to talk about what is happening in Nigeria. Nigeria has the largest Christian minority in proportion to its Muslim majority. Christians are 40 percent of the country (Muslims, of course, being the other 60 percent). Islamic radicals are provoking most of the tension. The newest such organization is Boko Haram, which translates to “Western education is sacrilege”. In 2011 its members killed at least 510 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches.
Post-Mubarak Egypt seems bent on destroying their Christian minority. Post-Saddam Iraq, likewise is into killing Christians. In Pakistan there is the notorious case of a Christian woman being sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Although anti-Christian violence is a major problem in the Middle East, it has nothing to do with Israel — where all of the religions do live in comparative harmony. If any good can be seen in this, it is that the extremist groups are successfully demonstrating that the Israel-Palestine issue is not the only cause of the Middle Eastern problems. A peace treaty between Israel and Palestine will not necessarily bring peace to the Middle East. It might not change anything until the religious hotheads are dealt with. Does the world community have the will to step on a few toes and offend a few religions in some sort of equitable manner? If they don’t, then forget about there ever being a Middle Eastern peace in our lifetime.
Do you want to see a video about Muslim-Jewish relations in Israel? Take a look at this video.
As the late Christopher Hitchens said in the title of one of his books: “Religion Spoils Everything”. Indeed.